Miners in the US

Strike against Asarco copper enters second month

By Samuel Davidson, 16 November 2019

The strike by 2,000 copper miners in Arizona and Texas against massive concessions demands has entered its second month, while the United Steelworkers seeks to isolate and betray the strike.

As Asarco copper workers continue their fight, unions isolate their struggle

By Jessica Goldstein, 25 October 2019

The unions are attempting to put maximum pressure on workers by providing totally inadequate strike pay and other support, forcing many to seek public assistance.

United Steelworkers prepare betrayal of Asarco strike

By Jessica Goldstein, 22 October 2019

The United Steelworkers is colluding along with other unions and the company to wear down the resolve of the workers on strike against Asarco through isolation and poverty.

United Steelworkers, unions keep striking Asarco mineworkers in the dark

By Jessica Goldstein, 18 October 2019

Mineworkers at Asarco have immense support from their brothers and sisters in the working class who are willing to fight with them, but the United Steelworkers, Teamsters and other unions are determined to keep them isolated.

2,000 Asarco mineworkers go on strike in Arizona and Texas

By Samuel Davidson and Jessica Goldstein, 15 October 2019

The strike by Asarco copper miners in the US is part of a growing movement that includes miners and key sections of transport, service and industrial workers across the globe.

Hundreds attend viewing for young miner fatally crushed in Pennsylvania coal mine

By Samuel Davidson, 6 September 2019

Tanner Lee, who leaves behind a wife and 2-year-old son, is the latest victim of the gutting of mine safety regulations in the drive for production and profits.

Twenty-five-year-old miner crushed to death in Pennsylvania coal mine

By Samuel Davidson, 2 September 2019

Tanner Lee McFarland was killed Thursday evening when part of the wall and roof in the area of the mine he was working collapsed, crushing him under tons of coal and rock.

Harlan County, Kentucky workers support coal miners’ blockade

By Samuel Davidson, 23 August 2019

Miners blocking shipments of coal from a bankrupt mine have the backing of other workers and residents in eastern Kentucky

“It’s not just miners, but all blue-collar workers, like the teachers, who have been mistreated too”

Blackjewel miners in Kentucky vow to continue fight against coal operator

By a WSWS reporting team, 16 August 2019

Two miners who have played a prominent role in the blockade of the coal train in Cumberland, Kentucky, spoke to the WSWS about their struggle to obtain back pay from the bankrupt coal company.

Kentucky coal miners continue protest as Blackjewel assets auction proceeds

By Naomi Spencer, 7 August 2019

The determined resistance of the miners in Harlan County, Kentucky, has demonstrated once again that the dividing line in America is class, not race or ethnicity.

Kentucky miners block train tracks for sixth day demanding back pay

By Samuel Davidson, 3 August 2019

Out-of-work coal miners are now in their sixth day of blocking railroad tracks, preventing the bankrupt Blackjewel LLC from moving coal out of the Harlan County, Kentucky, mine where they worked.

Unpaid Kentucky Blackjewel miners block coal train to demand wages

By Naomi Spencer, 30 July 2019

After weeks without work or pay from the bankrupt company, miners blocked the removal of coal from an idled Blackjewel mine in Harlan County, Kentucky.

US coal giant Blackjewel, LLC and affiliates declare bankruptcy

By Zachary Thorton, 23 July 2019

Another coal giant has declared bankruptcy, leaving devastation in its wake as hundreds of workers are out of work and owed thousands of dollars in unpaid wages.

West Virginia coal miner killed in fall

By Naomi Spencer, 14 March 2019

Adam DeBoard, 38, died of head injuries after falling from a highwall at a Greenbrier County, West Virginia surface mine last week.

“Everyone in the mine is very mad and concerned”

Miner warns of safety danger at United States’ largest underground coal mine

By Samuel Davidson, 25 February 2019

Despite record levels of production at Consol Energy’s Pennsylvania Mining Complex the company has not rehired miners assigned to rock dust crews who were recently laid off.

Coal mine rescue brings to light desperate social conditions in West Virginia

By Naomi Spencer, 17 December 2018

The tragedy unfolded just a few miles from the scene of the 2010 Upper Big Branch mine disaster, where 29 miners lost their lives in a massive explosion.

Underground worker killed in collapse at Nevada gold mine

By Evan Cohen, 31 October 2018

The death of the 42-year-old miner was one of several fatalities in October in metal and non-metal mines across the US.

Rates of black lung highest in 25 years among Appalachian coal miners

By Tom Hall, 23 July 2018

Decades after the deadly disease was nearly eradicated, more than one in five veteran coal miners now suffer from black lung disease.

Seven killed in South Africa gold mine collapse

By Eddie Haywood, 14 May 2018

The May 3 incident comes amid an overall rise in fatal mining accidents across the country in recent years.

Death on the Picket Line, the story of John McCoy

Book traces history of West Virginia miners’ struggles

2 March 2018

West Virginia teachers and their supporters will find in this work an important resource for gaining insight into the broader issues they face.

370 miners to lose their jobs at Pennsylvania coal mine

By Samuel Davidson, 22 February 2018

The closure of the 4 West Mine in southwestern Pennsylvania will be another blow to workers in the area, which already suffers from high unemployment and poverty.

US coal mining fatalities nearly doubled in 2017

By Clement Daly, 12 January 2018

The surge in mining deaths reflects the deterioration of working conditions in the US coal industry.

Trump administration halts study on health impact of surface mining

By Keisha Gibbs, 6 September 2017

The Trump administration has ordered an abrupt halt to a study into potential public health hazards in areas near surface coal mining operations in Central Appalachia.

Two US coal miners killed in June

By Naomi Spencer, 1 July 2017

The deaths of two coal miners last month put 2017 on track to reach fatality figures not seen since the relative boom period of 2011-13.

Trump, the coal miners and the environment

By Jerry White, 6 June 2017

Stripped of the demagogy and lies, the line of the Trump administration amounts to the proposition that miners must place their full trust and confidence in the benevolence of the coal bosses.

West Virginia coal miner killed at pit run by environmental fund

By Naomi Spencer, 22 May 2017

A West Virginia coal miner was killed May 18, bringing to seven the number of fatal coal mine accidents in the US this year.

Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship released from prison

By Samuel Davidson, 13 May 2017

Don Blankenship is free after one-year in prison over the deaths of 29 coal miners in an explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in 2010.

Health care for 22,600 retired coal miners extended for one week

By Samuel Davidson, 1 May 2017

The extension of medical coverage for 22,600 retired miners for another 20 months is being considered, but such a package would likely exclude pensions.

Two more US coal miners killed

By Naomi Spencer, 13 April 2017

Two accidents in West Virginia and eastern Kentucky coal mines bring to five the total number of US coal miners killed this year.

As Trump postures as friend of miners, retirees and widows face April 30 health care cutoff

By Samuel Davidson, 29 March 2017

On March 1, the United Mine Workers of America Health and Retirement Funds sent a letter to 22,600 retirees and widows informing them their retiree benefits would be cut off.

Coal miner killed at mine owned by West Virginia governor

By Clement Daly, 18 March 2017

Jason Kenneth Matthews was killed at the Bishop Preparation Plant, owned by Jim Justice, West Virginia’s governor and richest man.

“If a miner comes between a coal operator and a dollar, they’ll always take the dollar”

US coal miners face loss of retiree health coverage, black lung benefits

By Samuel Davidson, 6 March 2017

Thousands of retired coal miners and surviving widows have been sent letters notifying them that their health benefits will be cut off April 30 when funding for 22,600 recipients runs out.

Conviction upheld of CEO who oversaw West Virginia mine disaster

By Clement Daly, 7 February 2017

Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, who oversaw the Upper Big Branch mine where 29 West Virginia miners were killed in 2010, failed to overturn his conviction

First US coal mine fatality of 2017

By Naomi Spencer, 31 January 2017

Ray Hatfield, a Kentucky coal miner, was killed January 26 while working alone in a Pike County pit.

Iowa worker killed in partial mine collapse

By Matt Rigel and Marcus Day, 27 January 2017

In the first US mining fatality of 2017, a truck operator died after a partial collapse at Linwood Mining and Mineral in eastern Iowa.

US coal miners hit by sharp rise in deadliest black lung disease

By Clement Daly, 19 December 2016

New reports have revealed a spike in the deadliest forms of the respiratory disease, which miners contract by inhaling coal dust.

US coal miners face cutoff of health, pension benefits

By Jerry White, 13 December 2016

More than 120,000 retired coal miners are threatened with the cutoff of health and pension benefits over the next several months as the United Mine Workers Health and Retirement Fund runs out of money.

120,000 coal miners face loss of retirement benefits

By Clement Daly, 7 December 2016

The growing insolvency of the various UMWA health and retirement funds is rooted in the continuing global economic crisis and the resulting collapse of commodities prices.

West Virginia coal miner killed in explosion

By Naomi Spencer, 9 August 2016

A coal miner died August 4 from burns sustained after a spark from his welder caused a massive ignition of the shaft on July 29.

Peabody Energy declares bankruptcy

By Clement Daly, 26 April 2016

Amidst the deepening global economic crisis, the world’s largest coal company declared bankruptcy, threatening the living standards and working conditions of its 7,100 global workforce.

Former Massey CEO Don Blankenship sentenced to one year in prison

By Clement Daly, 7 April 2016

Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship was sentenced yesterday to one year in prison and a $250,000 fine for conspiring to willfully violate federal mine health and safety laws.

Harlan, Kentucky coal miner killed

By Naomi Spencer, 1 April 2016

The fatality, the fourth in the US this year, comes as the state legislature considers scrapping coal mine safety laws.

Coal giant Peabody Energy on verge of bankruptcy

By Clement Daly, 22 March 2016

In a string of bankruptcies, the courts are being used to attack the wages, pensions, health care and working conditions of miners—gains realized through decades of struggle.

Misery compounds as mass layoffs continue in West Virginia

By Naomi Spencer, 23 January 2016

Each week brings announcements of hundreds of layoffs in coal, rail or other industries across the state.

Three US coal miners killed in three weeks

By Naomi Spencer, 22 January 2016

Three coal miners have died in separate accidents 19 days into the new year, the highest number to occur in such a period since 2006.

Former Massey CEO escapes most serious charges for role in mine disaster

By Clement Daly, 4 December 2015

Blankenship was found guilty of only one misdemeanor count of conspiring to willfully violate federal mine health and safety laws but acquitted of more serious felony charges.

West Virginia jury deliberates in trial of former Massey CEO Don Blankenship

By Clement Daly, 25 November 2015

Blankenship was at the head of Massey when an explosion ripped through the company’s Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia on April 5, 2010, killing 29 miners.

Jury deliberations continuing in trial of former Massey Energy CEO

By Clement Daly, 20 November 2015

Federal prosecutors rested their case against Don Blankenship on Monday and defense attorneys declined to call any witnesses.

Railroads lay off hundreds and close routes in Appalachia

By Jeff Lusanne, 29 October 2015

In response to plummeting coal production, two major railroads have suspended operations over century-old routes and laid off hundreds of workers in West Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

Collapse of West Virginia coal industry spurs growing inequality

By Naomi Spencer, 26 October 2015

As the coal industry has hemorrhaged jobs, state and local social services have been slashed and inequality has soared.

Upper Big Branch mine disaster: Opening statements in trial of former Massey Energy CEO

By Clement Daly, 16 October 2015

Twenty-nine miners died in the April 5, 2010 explosion, the worst coal mine disaster in nearly four decades.

US: Trial begins for Massey CEO in Upper Big Branch disaster

By Clement Daly, 5 October 2015

Massey boss Don Blankenship is not being charged with murder in the deaths of 29 coal miners, but faces three criminal counts of conspiracy, fraud and making false statements.

US coal giant seeks to eliminate health care for retirees

By Samuel Davidson, 28 September 2015

Years of working in the coal fields produce an array of health problems, from back and spine injury to black lung.

Layoffs mount in West Virginia

By Naomi Spencer, 29 July 2015

The state has the highest unemployment and lowest workforce participation rates in the country, figures exacerbated by mass layoffs in coal, rail and other key industries.

Former Massey CEO Don Blankenship pleads not guilty to updated charges

By Clement Daly, 26 March 2015

It is nearly five years since the April 2010 explosion at Upper Big Branch killed 29 West Virginia miners in the worst US mine disaster in nearly four decades.

West Virginia mine roof collapse kills one worker, injures two

By Evan Blake, 10 March 2015

The McElroy Mine, owned by the Murray Energy Corporation, has already received 189 citations from the US Mine Safety and Health Administration so far this year.

Coal mine closures and layoffs continue throughout US

By Clement Daly, 13 January 2015

The wave of mine closures and layoffs in the US coal industry continued throughout the second half of 2014.

Kentucky coal miner killed at Patriot mine

By Clement Daly, 19 December 2014

Kentucky coal miner Eli Eldridge, who was killed at Patriot’s Highland No. 9 mine, is the 15th coal miner fatally injured this year.

Union seeks to smother opposition to unsafe conditions in West Virginia mines

By Clement Daly, 28 November 2014

The United Mine Workers of America is working with Patriot Coal and the courts to suppress the opposition of miners, which erupted in a strike last month over unsafe conditions.

Delinquent US mines allowed to continue dangerous operations

By Clement Daly, 19 November 2014

Nearly $70 million in delinquent fines are owed by 2,700 mining companies throughout the US.

Wyoming coal miner killed

By Naomi Spencer, 22 October 2014

The death at Peabody Energy’s North Antelope Rochelle Mine was the 13th US coal mining fatality this year

Black lung disease hits highest levels in four decades

By Clement Daly, 29 September 2014

The most severe form of black lung, a preventable disease resulting from insufficient ventilation in coalmines, has increased tenfold over fifteen years.

Wave of layoffs sweeps North American coal industry

By Clement Daly, 22 August 2014

Alpha Natural Resources plans to lay off approximately 1,100 coal miners and support staff at 11 affiliated coal mining operations in southern West Virginia by mid-October.

Mine and car job cuts drive up Australia’s unemployment

By Mike Head, 15 July 2014

Falling commodity prices and restructuring by mining and auto companies are expected to send the jobless rate even higher.

New US coal dust standards leave thousands of miners at risk for black lung

By Clement Daly, 2 June 2014

The Obama administration has unveiled new respirable dust standards for the nation’s coal mines.

West Virginia mine had appalling safety record

By Clement Daly, 16 May 2014

The West Virginia mine where two miners died earlier this week had an appalling safety record with hundreds of violations and injuries.

Illinois coal miner killed on the job

By Naomi Spencer, 16 May 2014

The death of an Illinois miner Wednesday marks the sixth US coal mine fatality of the year, and the third in as many days.

Two West Virginia coal miners killed in roof collapse

By Naomi Spencer, 14 May 2014

Two miners were killed at a mine owned by Patriot Coal Monday night after the collapse of a roof and wall.

Four years since the Upper Big Branch mine disaster

By Clement Daly, 5 April 2014

Saturday marks the fourth anniversary of the Upper Big Branch mine tragedy in Montcoal, West Virginia, when a massive explosion ripped through the Massey Energy-owned mine, killing 29 coal miners.

West Virginia law firm accused of “cutthroat approach” to fighting black lung claims

By Clement Daly, 20 February 2014

Numerous reports and studies have documented the alarming resurgence of black lung throughout the coal mining industry.

US university hospital suspends its black lung unit

By Clement Daly, 13 January 2014

A group of radiologists at Johns Hopkins University Hospital has been instrumental in preventing thousands of coal miners from receiving black lung benefits.

On-the-job accident kills Ohio coal miner

By Naomi Spencer, 5 December 2013

The death of Ohio miner Ryan Lashley brings to 20 the number of US coal miners killed on the job this year.

Two dead, 20 injured in Colorado mining accident

By Nick Barrickman, 19 November 2013

The event marks the worst mine-related accident in the state since 1981, when an explosion claimed the lives of 15 workers.

Coal miner killed in southern Illinois

By Naomi Spencer, 9 November 2013

A coal miner was crushed in a wall collapse Monday, bringing to 19 the number of US miners killed on the job this year.

Four coal miners killed during government shutdown

By Clement Daly, 24 October 2013

Four coal miners were killed in separate incidents during the 16-day shutdown of the US government, as the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) operated with less than half its staff.

US miners’ union reaches settlement with Patriot Coal and Peabody Energy

By Clement Daly, 15 October 2013

The United Mine Workers announced that it reached a “global settlement” with Patriot Coal and Peabody Energy.

UMW pushes through new concessions contract with Patriot Coal

By Clement Daly, 21 August 2013

UMW members in West Virginia and Kentucky approved a new contract with bankrupt Patriot Coal, which fails to secure funding for retiree health care

India: NLC workers angered by sell-out of their anti-privatisation strike

By Arun Kumar, Sasi Kumar and Moses Rajkumar, 26 July 2013

There is growing discontent among Neyveli Lignite Corporation workers over the unions’ shutting down of their strike against the Indian government’s plans to privatise the highly-profitable coal-mining and power-generation company.

The United Mine Workers and the Patriot Coal bankruptcy

By Clement Daly, 16 July 2013

The UMW bureaucracy has responded to the historic assault on the living standards of miners with a series of impotent protests.

Patriot Coal bankruptcy approved, thousands of retirees to lose health care

By Clement Daly, 4 June 2013

Patriot Coal has been granted permission to tear up its collective bargaining agreements with the United Mine Workers and escape its obligations to provide health care to its retirees.

Three years since West Virginia’s Upper Big Branch mine disaster

Sequester cuts pose new threat to US mine safety

By Kate Randall, 2 April 2013

Three years after the West Virginia tragedy, cuts threaten to further undermine mine safety, inevitably leading to more deaths.

Fifth West Virginia miner killed in as many weeks

By Naomi Spencer, 19 March 2013

The latest fatality comes in the wake of a statewide “safety standdown” called by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and the eruption of a fire in another mine.

Another West Virginia coal miner killed

By Naomi Spencer, 21 February 2013

A second miner has been killed in the same mine where a fatal accident occurred just two weeks ago.

US coal companies shed 7,700 jobs in 2012

By Clement Daly, 20 February 2013

US coal mining jobs dropped by 8.5 percent last year.

Two more US coal miners killed

By Clement Daly, 19 February 2013

Two more US coal miners were killed last week, bringing the nation’s coal mining fatalities to five this year.

Two West Virginia coal miners killed

By Clement Daly, 13 February 2013

Two West Virginia coal miners were killed in as many days last week, bringing the nation’s coal mine fatalities to three this year.

Harlan, Kentucky coal truck drivers take independent strike action

By Naomi Spencer, 23 January 2013

Coal truck drivers at two Harlan, Kentucky mines initiated a strike over non-payment of wages.

Patriot Coal to end mountaintop removal mining in West Virginia

By Clement Daly, 11 December 2012

Patriot Coal has announced it will phase out its mountaintop removal coal mining operations as part of a $440 million settlement with environmental groups.

Peabody closes Illinois mine after miner’s death, laying off 400

By Clement Daly, 10 December 2012

St. Louis-based Peabody Energy has announced it will permanently close its Willow Lake Mine in southern Illinois, laying off 400 miners after a miner was crushed to death last month.

Thousands of miners to lose health care, pensions in Patriot Coal bankruptcy

By Clement Daly, 21 November 2012

Patriot Coal is seeking to discharge health care and pension obligations for more than 22,000 miners through bankruptcy.

Murray Energy lays off 160 miners in response to Obama’s reelection

By Clement Daly, 20 November 2012

Murray Energy, the largest privately owned coal mining company in the US, announced layoffs in response to the so-called “war on coal.”

New Zealand mine disaster inquiry whitewashes government

By Tom Peters, 10 November 2012

The disaster was the outcome of the decades-long assault on the jobs, conditions and rights of workers aimed at boosting “international competitiveness.”

Harlan, Kentucky coal miner killed in roof fall

By Naomi Spencer, 29 September 2012

A roof collapse in a Tennessee mine early Wednesday claimed the life of a Harlan, Kentucky, miner.

Alpha Natural Resources closing eight mines, laying off 1,200

By Samuel Davidson, 21 September 2012

In making the announcement, the company stated that it plans to shift production from less profitable thermal coal to the more profitable metallurgical coal.

Kentucky coal miner killed

By Naomi Spencer, 27 June 2012

A Pike County, Kentucky miner was crushed by a wall collapse Monday morning, bringing to 10 the number of US coal miners killed on the job this year.

Obama administration lauds coal giant Alpha after deadly conditions exposed

By Clement Daly, 25 June 2012

The Obama administration has intervened on behalf of energy giant Alpha after federal mine inspectors issued an “imminent danger” order against one of its mines.

US: Life-threatening violations rampant in Alpha coal mines

By Clement Daly, 12 June 2012

Last week, energy giant Alpha Natural Resources was cited by federal safety inspectors for more than 200 violations, including for hazards posing “imminent danger.”

Investigation exposes role of federal safety agency in West Virginia mine disaster

By Clement Daly, 3 April 2012

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that if the federal mine regulatory agency had enforced basic safety standards, the 2010 disaster at Massey’s Upper Big Branch mine could have been prevented.

Superintendent charged in Upper Big Branch mine disaster

By Tom Eley, 2 March 2012

Federal attorneys have filed charges against a mine superintendent for the April 2010 Upper Big Branch mine disaster that killed 29 West Virginia coal miners.

Tennessee plant where five workers died found rife with dangers

By Naomi Spencer, 16 December 2011

An investigation by the federal Chemical Safety Board found that uncontrolled hazards and an absence of safety measures were behind a series of fatal fires at a Tennessee plant earlier this year.