Once again, a study has shown that unionized coal mines are not only safer places to work than nonunion mines, but that union miners produce more coal. The study, by SNL Energy, found that in 2013 unionized mines in northern and central Appalachia produced about 94,091 tons of coal per injury versus 71,110 in nonunion mines, despite research suggesting that unionized miners are more likely to report injuries that have occurred on the job.
In fighting claims of black lung disease and the disability benefits that sick and dying coal miners are due when they are diagnosed with the crippling and fatal disease, coal companies employ “cutthroat” law firms and a select group of physicians—including a unit at the nation’s top-ranked hospital, according to a new investigative report by the Center for Public Integrity in partnership with ABC News.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka—a third-generation coal miner—will discuss the report tonight on ABC “World News with Diane Sawyer” at 6:30 p.m. in most markets and later on “Nightline” at 12:35 a.m. Thursday. Check your local listings.
Last week, we gave you a dozen examples of the vital work that locked-out federal employees are being prevented from doing, thanks to the irresponsible House Republican government shutdown now in its second week. Republican House leaders are still refusing to do the right thing and allow a vote on funding and reopening the government.
Here’s a look at six more of the jobs that shut-down workers—or those still on the job but not getting paid—perform and some of the key government services we all count on that are idled.
There is an alarming increase the number of coal miners—including younger and younger miners—diagnosed with deadly black lung disease. But a proposed federal rule limiting miners’ exposure to the coal dust that causes black lung is stuck in regulatory limbo and Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) has urged President Obama to end the delays and move the rule “as expeditiously as possible.”
Congress must fix “the glaring safety issues revealed in the wake of the Upper Big Branch mine disaster,” said Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) this week, as he introduced legislation to bring the nation’s mine health and safety laws up to date.
The former president of a Massey Energy subsidiary, who also served for 20 years in top positions throughout Massey, implicated former Massey CEO Donald Blankenship in a long-term scheme to hide mine safety violations from federal inspectors.