Over the last several weeks letters have been printed in the newspaper concerning an ongoing dispute between management and labor at CW Mining Company. With information that is available I have come to one definite conclusion of my own. That is no matter how you sugar coat it with bonuses and incentives a base pay of $5.50 an hour to work as an underground coal miner is a disgrace. Coal mining has inherent dangers and requires physical stamina and endurance that is not present in most other jobs. I believe that it is an insult to a proud profession to pay this low wage.
Intimidation used by employers in the work place, weather overt or subtle, is reprehensible. It is particularly hard to prove since it often comes down to one persons word against another. Employees at CW Mining, in their letter, have accused management of using intimidation as a tool to control their actions and behavior. They say that they have been threatened with deportation or loss of employment. I think these charges should be looked at seriously since the majority of workers are recent immigrants and are vulnerable to this type of intimidation.
At a minimum people should support the coal miners at CW Mining in a bid for higher wages. What the outcome will be is anyone's guess but now as is the past it is the miners themselves who must take the risk of losing their jobs in order to gain better benefits. I hope they will succeed, because coal mining should never be treated as a "minimum wage job"