Coal stars unionise

WORKERS at Cobalt Coal’s Westchester mine in West Virginia, site of the popular 2011 documentary/reality television series Coal, have voted to join the United Mine Workers of America.
Coal stars unionise Coal stars unionise Coal stars unionise Coal stars unionise Coal stars unionise

Mike Crowder, image courtesy of Cobalt Coal

Donna Schmidt

The McDowell County mine’s 15-7 vote in favor of representation was supervised by the National Labor Relations Board. Twenty-three hourly workers were eligible to vote.

While the vote was made Wednesday, the UMWA announced its newest mine member Friday.

“We welcome them to the union family, and we look forward to sitting down with management and negotiating an agreement that is fair and equitable for both sides,” president Cecil Roberts said.

Union officials pointed to concerns last year, as the miners were filming Coal, over safety practises at the mine.

Both state and federal regulators consequently issued several violations, reportedly 19, to the operation during the filming period.

“Standard UMWA agreements include language establishing Local Union safety committees and providing miners contractual protection from retaliation for pointing out safety issues at the mines,” the UMWA said.

It also cited a recent Stanford University study showing significantly lower fatality and injury rates at union-represented mines.

Cobalt acquired the thin seam Westchester complex in February 2008. By December of that year, initial production had started.

The room and pillar operation extracts high-grade metallurgical coal from the Sewell seam at an average 42 inches in working height.

The Coal series aired on US station SpikeTV for one season.

Network representatives confirmed earlier this year that there would not be a second season.

Most read Archive


Most read Archive