Last week, PBS broadcasted a documentary on the state of coal mining during the early part of the 20th century in West Virginia. No one can deny the inhumane and unsafe conditions in which workers toiled, or the predatory practices of owners who forced miners and their families to live in proprietary shacks and paid scrip that was worthless outside of company stores. Rarely, did miners receive justice. Local, state and federal governments conspired to suppress strikes and in some cases armed rebellion. Coal mining camps were filled with powder kegs in more ways than one.
After time, conditions and wages improved with the advent of the Wagner Act and the increasing political power workers exercised at the polls. Unfortunately for coal miners, their union bosses saddled up with a political party that began to take their votes for granted and now despises the very profession that puts a roof over their head, clothes on their back and food in their families stomach. Radicals have taken over the Democratic Party. Blue collar workers have been supplanted by Marxist/environmentalist groups that have nothing but contempt for modernity and the energy that propels it. The coal industry has become persona non grata thanks to Barack Hussein Obama and his ilk.
Today’s predators aren’t the coal companies. They’re being strangled by a legion of laws, regulations and EPA mandates that seeks their extinction. No, that toothless lion has been replaced by a different breed of predator: union bosses and politicians that pay lip service while forcing workers to pay exorbitant dues that finance a good ole boy system that benefits everyone but the worker.
Currently, right-to-work legislation is making its way through West Virginia’s capitol. Republicans are trying to attract businesses that will help alleviate the privations of a state long ruled by Democrats and their cronies. The Daily Signal reported the following:
The legislation advanced out of the state Senate by a party-line vote, 17-16. The House last week followed suit, approving the measure 54-46. Tomblin has until Thursday to veto the bill.