Hundreds of Alabama Miners Gather in DC

Sep 8, 2016
UMWA Protest
Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

Mine workers in Alabama are headed to Washington today.

They’ll be joining other members of the United Mine Workers of America in a rally. The demonstration is in support of legislation that would protect pensions and healthcare for retired miners. These benefits have been jeopardized by a downturn in the coal industry across the U.S. Alabama has been hit particularly hard due to the bankruptcy of Walter Energy.

Phil Smith is the Director of Government Affairs for the United Mine Workers. He says Alabama miners have the backing of their government representatives.

United Mine Workers of America

Thirty people have been arrested during a United Mine Workers of America protest against Patriot Coal in West Virginia.

UMWA President Cecil Roberts and AFL-CIO Vice President Arlene Holt-Baker are among those arrested.

The UMWA says 5,000 people attended Tuesday's protest in Fairmont.

They came from Alabama, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard told the crowd that every union is threatened if Patriot gets away with shedding legacy costs and breaking promises.

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When I was little, my mom bought me a book of photos: Lewis Hine's Kids at Work, a softcover volume made for kids my age at the time. Seeing images of barefoot boys in cotton mills and toddlers picking fruit was my first encounter with the power of photography. I couldn't believe kids my age worked so hard — and in such dangerous conditions.