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W. Va. Mine Accident

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  • W. Va. Mine Accident

    Our hearts and prayers go out to the families affected in the disaster.

    Even though, this is a non-Union mine, the UMWA International President Cecil E Roberts, dispatched UNION Rescue Workers to help with the recovery efforts.

    Visit www.UMWA.org for the Union President's Statements
    "Bonne journe'e mes amis"

  • #2
    Originally posted by davedarragh View Post
    Even though, this is a non-Union mine, the UMWA International President Cecil E Roberts, dispatched UNION Rescue Workers to help with the recovery efforts.
    Ok, so whats your point ?
    America, Clinging to our Guns and Religon since 1776.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Phewzer View Post
      Ok, so whats your point ?
      Yes, Dave, I also would like to know what's your point. Seems every issue that's out there, your solution is union representation.

      Sorry, Dave, I myself never ever belonged to a union. I did, however, work for plenty of "bootstrap" type guys, all of whom had no problem explaining to me how the real world worked, real economics, etc. etc. As a result, I am now my own employer, I take my own risks, don't have to hide behind a "union" for anything. Also, as a result, I take care of my own benefits,,,,, don't have to trust the mafia for anything.

      life is fine.
      Obviously, I'm just a hack-artist, you shouldn't be listening to anything I say .....

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Phewzer View Post
        Ok, so whats your point ?
        1.) The UMWA's #1 Priority is SAFETY. Even though this mine was Non-Union, the benevolence of the International is paramount in their volunteer services.

        2.) At issue here is SAFETY. Had this mine been UNION, chances are, this accident would have never happened. Work at this mine would have come to a halt before the number and severity of citations were allowed to stack up.

        The ventilation system was operating in reverse. The Company ignored the citations at the expense of 29 HARD WORKING AMERICAN HUMAN BEINGS.

        In an earlier thread, another member posted regarding funding being cut for "Trade School Programs."

        Apparently funding has been cut in American History classes as well, because you don't see early pioneers of Organized Labor mentioned in textbooks, or taught in class.

        Samuel Gompers, John L Lewis, George Meeny, James R Hoffa, Walter Reuther, the AFL-CIO, Philip Murray, and many, many more steadfast Labor Leaders laid the groundwork and foundations for what the "Working Man" enjoys today.

        My point Phewzer, as you so eloquently asked? There is honor among men. The generosity of the UMWA, extending a helping hand in the rescue and recovery efforts during this tragedy, exemplifies the purpose of organized Labor in this Country.

        JS: I can say, without reservation, your vocational freedoms, are a result of over a 100 years of Collective Bargaining by Labor Unions.

        "Hide" and "Mafia" are umbrella statements used by those who know not the chronicles of the "Brotherhood."

        What I bring to the "Table," are FACTS, and NOT Opinionated Conjecture.
        Last edited by davedarragh; 04-10-2010, 03:51 PM.
        "Bonne journe'e mes amis"

        Comment


        • #5
          JS: I can say, without reservation, your vocational freedoms, are a result of over a 100 years of Collective Bargaining by Labor Unions.
          I'm not Union (my field doesn't have them) but note that statement is absolutely true. The history of labor in the US is fascinating and every American should read it. People were literally shot down in the street fighting for benefits we now take completely for granted.

          Unfortunately, some unions made mistakes, and global competition means most workers are rendered worthless by the global glut of competitors. That pretty much broke unions except where their members special skills allow them to corner the market. The enemy relationship between workers and management in the US ensures they will be more interested in fighting each other than cooperation.

          Unions need to figure out how to grow where workers are exploited, and they need to grow WORLDwide. China's mining industry is a bloodbath, and desperately needs unions. If workers world wide get a closer-to-equal shake, countries can compete on a more even playing field.

          Comment


          • #6
            The CEO of Massey Energy (the mine operator) bought the election for one of the WV Supreme Court judges, and pictures surfaced of him on a European vacation with the Chief Justice of the same court.

            They are virulently anti-union. Blankenship himself sent out a memo telling superintendents to ignore engineers and anyone else that told them perform safety related work and focus on running coal because that's what pays the bills.

            Blankenship demanded that a separate contract be negotiated for each of the mines, Smith said. The union said no and went on strike.

            “It was very vicious, the first time in 60 years that a mine operator brought in strikebreakers, brought in armed guards,” Smith said in a telephone interview.

            By 1988, Massey had sold or closed 18 of 23 Massey facilities with unions, Smith said. The company ended up with five facilities where the UMWA represented the workers. Of the five, the UMWA now represents workers in only two, which are coal processing plants, Smith said.

            The union tried to organize the workers at the Upper Big Branch mine, the site of the recent fatal explosion, about three years ago, Smith said. The first vote was a tie. The union lost the second by 14 votes and withdrew its petition before a third vote was taken, he said.

            Talking to Miners

            “When we first began, we had over 70 percent of the people who signed cards,” indicating interest in a union, he said. “Then Don Blankenship himself went into the mines and personally talked to the miners,” Smith said. “He was his own personal union-buster.”
            http://www.businessweek.com/news/201...-coal-ceo.html

            But Mr. Blankenship is determined to prove that underground mining is too dangerous and that we should strip mine the rest of our country's coal. And since he stacked the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of WV government with his inside guys, who's to disagree?

            The point of dave's post is that the UMWA sent the most qualified people to aid in the rescue and recovery and they weren't allowed in because they were affiliated the Union. If this was a union mine, they would have stopped everything until the ventilation issue had been addressed, but since this was a Massey mine, they were too busy following orders to run coal in an explosive atmosphere.

            I wish peace for the families. Don Blankenship is as much of a dirtbag as Osama bin Laden.

            80% of failures are from 20% of causes
            Never compromise your principles today in the name of furthering them in the future.
            "All I ever wanted was an honest week's pay for an honest day's work." -Sgt. Bilko
            "We are generally better persuaded by reasons we discover ourselves than by those given to us by others." -Pascal
            "Since we cannot know all that there is to be known about anything, we ought to know a little about everything." -Pascal

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Bodybagger View Post
              The CEO of Massey Energy (the mine operator) bought the election for one of the WV Supreme Court judges, and pictures surfaced of him on a European vacation with the Chief Justice of the same court.

              They are virulently anti-union. Blankenship himself sent out a memo telling superintendents to ignore engineers and anyone else that told them perform safety related work and focus on running coal because that's what pays the bills.

              http://www.businessweek.com/news/201...-coal-ceo.html

              But Mr. Blankenship is determined to prove that underground mining is too dangerous and that we should strip mine the rest of our country's coal. And since he stacked the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of WV government with his inside guys, who's to disagree?

              The point of dave's post is that the UMWA sent the most qualified people to aid in the rescue and recovery and they weren't allowed in because they were affiliated the Union. If this was a union mine, they would have stopped everything until the ventilation issue had been addressed, but since this was a Massey mine, they were too busy following orders to run coal in an explosive atmosphere.

              I wish peace for the families. Don Blankenship is as much of a dirtbag as Osama bin Laden.
              They should also be Criminally Charged with Manslaughter/Special Circumstances.

              Bodybagger is more than familiar with the many Industrial Hazards in that region of the Country. From DOE's High Assay Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Portsmouth, Ohio, to the many under earth mines, steel mills and chemical plants.

              Our prayers and condolences to the families victimized in this disaster.
              "Bonne journe'e mes amis"

              Comment


              • #8
                Killing off underground mining and going to mountaintop removal is another obvious mining company goal. (Pitting "jobs against mountain removal" is a sleazy divisive tactic that works.)

                Destroying the mountains isn't a "tree hugger" issue, it's a "don't use your drinking well for a latrine" issue.


                http://www.ohvec.org/galleries/mountaintop_removal/007/

                Even if the rest of the US is willing to throw rural Americans under the bus (and it is), the spectacular record of mining company indifference to pollution mitigation and cleanup ought to scare the (digested food) out of anyone downstream.

                Making mine working conditions safer would allow mining coal while doing vastly less environmental damage. It also costs money, and killing miners has been cheaper than doing the right thing.
                Last edited by 1930case; 04-10-2010, 07:08 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  And unfortunately they pay very well and that keeps a lot of mouths shut.
                  MSHA is the CAL Osha of mining and they are hard core on safety.
                  Hind sight is 20/20 but this place was a death trap waiting to happen. And it did.
                  Massey Energy has been fined big time in the past their track record speaks volumes
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                  • #10
                    The union VS non union argument has been beaten to death. This is a bit off subject, but since the issue came up....

                    If someone has worked non union all their life & been treated fairly & paid well, I can see the point in that side.

                    At the same time, someone who has worked in a union shop after working in a non union craphole with a 40%+ turnover rate every few years, poor safety standards & the mantra that production overrides ALL other priorities will clearly tell you being represented has it's benefits.

                    I currently work for an employer who's workers are "represented" by an in house "union" that has no autonomy, no power to negotiate, is not recognized by either the AFL or CIO & is effectively keeping a REAL bargaining unit from being voted in & providing true union representation for it's members.

                    Funny how we make well below the average hourly salary for even non union drivers in the local area. The very union company we subcontract for pays it's average driver over $20 per hour plus benefits. It's about 4+ years of service to see $11 per hour here. Turnover is quite high as well.

                    Being that we are "represented", we should at least have something a little better than $1.50 per hour above minimum wage. Don't have to be no $20 per hour, but a middle of the road number would be reasonable in the least of views. Sure, the spin doctors would have you believe "We're just lucky to have jobs", but several attempts at effectively voting out this cleverly crafted "union" created by management have all resulted in those individuals swift termination.

                    But, that's the way it is & it's gonna stay.

                    Best thing imaginable for management. They avoid having to bargain with a real organization, they have a "union" in place meeting the terms of subcontractors set out by their union shop clients & no fear of a slowdown or strike from it's workforce. Believe me, I'm looking for something better, but at over 14% unemployment rate here, the market is lean on even fair paying jobs & saturated with 80+ hour a week non union crapholes & minimum wage employment.

                    It's a mockery at best of any form of representation.The non union guys can go on & on about their great experience with their non union employers.

                    My complaint lies solely with the principle of the matter. Nothing more. I needed a part time job with very flexible hours & they were hiring. I voluntarily took the job & voluntarily stay until something better comes along.

                    Different situation when it's effecting you directly. I have worked in & managed in both union & non union houses. Hands down, the union shops were far better organized & terms clearly defined for management. The turnover for management was half of the non union shop I came from at that time as well. Morale was at it's least 100% better than the non union hole that painted it's mantras & slogans on the walls of the employee corridors & never missed an opportunity to tell their workers & the public how good they treated us.

                    If you got it good non union...Great.

                    If you don't, you'll know exactly where this is coming from.

                    *EDIT. I will wager any amount of money if those mine workers were represented by a credible union, we wouldn't commenting on this thread right now.

                    IMHO of course.
                    Last edited by 7A749; 04-10-2010, 07:53 PM.
                    So you're telling me...You're not nostalgic? Then, give me another word for it......

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Kudos davedarragh and Bodybagger!!

                      I worked for AMAX Coal Co. from 1976 to the end of 1984 when our mine was closed. I served as a Safety Committeeman and I can attest to the seriousness that the UMWA regarded safety. Everything said was spot on.

                      Massey Energy has had a long and dark record of doing everything possible to avoid spending any more money than it had to on anything safety related. It appears the only thing they spent any significant amount of money on was union busting tactics. How Don Blankenship can pretend to be interested in anything beyond the bottom line is more than I can comprehend. Personally, I think he should be charged with manslaughter at the very, very least. The man appears to have no conscience.

                      There should be a section of American History in high school that devotes a chapter or two to the story of the labor movement and the benefits all workers enjoy as a result of the struggles and sacrifices made by courageous union men and women.

                      One such woman that I would like to add to the list is Mary Harris Jones, also known as Mother Jones, the "miners' angel". One of her famous sayings was "Pray for the dead, but fight like he!! for the living"!

                      Too many people are totally clueless when it comes to the reasons for many, many of the benefits that working men and women, union or not, enjoy today. And I might sadly add, most take for granted.

                      There was a very real need for unions in the early years of the labor movement and I see where the need is mounting even more so today. I just hope that it doesn't come at as high of a price as was paid in the early days.
                      Flash me! I'm a welder.

                      American by birth, Union by choice! Boilermakers Local 60

                      America is a Union

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                      • #12
                        First off the whole mine "accident"s is a tragedy, but I agree wholeheartedly with Bodybagger and Dave about the rights won by unions. Many folks who snivel about unions are EXACTLY the same folks who are so upset when the rights that unions won for them are trampled upon (Not entirely unlike those who rail against the "evils of socialized medicine" while making their medicare appointments and using their government prescription drug benefits). Those miner's families are without fathers and sons because of the unabated greed of a few CEO's who should face criminal charges IMHO. If you are a non-union worker, as am I, and your situation is good, well I'm very happy for you, but being ignorant of the rights that workers (all workers) have as a result of the struggles of those that came before us is hypocritical and demonstrates a serious lack of knowledge concerning history. It wasn't long ago where workers were used like raw material and discarded just as easily, and I for one think it's a shame that apparently few people seem to know this. I think it shows a lot of class that the Union miners sent rescue personnel regardless of the political situation at the mine.
                        Last edited by UH60LCHIEF; 04-11-2010, 02:31 AM.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by UH60LCHIEF View Post
                          it shows a lot of class that the Union miners sent rescue personnel regardless of the political situation at the mine.
                          I disagree.

                          Yes, unions really helped this country become awsome [then].
                          Now, they are destroying it.
                          America, Clinging to our Guns and Religon since 1776.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            By Phewser:

                            I disagree.

                            Yes, unions really helped this country become awsome [then].
                            Now, they are destroying it.
                            Your idea of what is destroying this country is one he!! of a lot different than mine.

                            Please give specific examples of what the unions are doing that are destroying this country and please avoid rhetoric and hyperbole.
                            Flash me! I'm a welder.

                            American by birth, Union by choice! Boilermakers Local 60

                            America is a Union

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Bodybagger View Post
                              Don Blankenship is as much of a dirtbag as Osama bin Laden.
                              Huh? I am non union. I am self employed. I have friends on both sides of the union/non union debate. I also lost friends due to bin ladens plans and what he intended them to do. Your statement above shot your credibility to **** from my point of view.

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