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On November 21, 1927, Colorado state police massacred six striking coal miners at the Columbine Mine in Serene, in what was just one of so many instances in American history of government using police forces as the private strikebreaking army of employers. Colorado miners, both in coal and hard-rock, had helped define American labor history […]
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On December 23, 1872, coal miners near Clearfield, Pennsylvania got into a fight with strikebreakers trying to mine coal during a strike. This minor moment in American labor history tells us a great deal about how miners defined their jobs and their rights in 1872, providing lessons to us today. In November 1872, the miners […]

That Pro-Coal Trump!

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On November 17, 2017

Meet your newly confirmed Mine Safety and Health Administration head David Zatezalo: The coal mining company run by President Donald Trump’s nominee to be the nation’s top mining regulator has alr

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Was Don Blankenship Not Available?

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In General
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On September 4, 2017
Meet your new Mine Safety and Health Administration administrator nominee. Trump on Friday named David Zatezalo, the former chairman of Rhino Resources, to be an assistant secretary of Labor overseeing the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). The position is currently vacant, according to the Department of Labor’s website. During Zatezalo’s time as an executive […]
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In writing about the horrors of child labor internationally, I frequently get people telling me that “these people are poor and all banning child labor does is take income away from families where children are working.” Other than this effectively repeating the arguments of the National Association of Manufacturers and sweatshop owners of a century […]

The Wages of Mining

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On December 8, 2016

In 1985, I took the first trip of my life. We drove from Oregon to Minnesota for a family reunion. For me, at that age, this was exciting. As we drove east on I-90, we stopped in Butte, Montana. There

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