With the western coalfields of the United States supplying an increasing proportion of the nation's coal, mine workers have been batting to establish their union.
GV Mechanical shovel loading coal onto truck and truck leaving (4 shots)
GV Miners demonstrating at Gallup, Wyoming (2 shots)
CU Sign on miner's back "New Mexican Coal is UMWA Coal"
SV Miners on strike at Hanna, Wyoming and CU strike banners (3 shots)
CU Damaged wind-screens on cars (2 shots)
GV State troopers arriving by car as pickets line entrance to mine
SV Police officials examining firearms including pistols and rifles (2 shots)
SV Police in car talking over walkie-talkie
GV Arrested miners walking into building with police
(SEQ 3): "Organising miners requires a spirit of solidarity and community--an "us" against "them" attitude. Westerners tend to be -- or like to feel -- they are more independent than their eastern brothers. And too, there are different minorities to deal with out here.
If miners are more independent out here, so are mine owners. So are lawmen and judges. The union found out about that a few weeks ago during a strike at the "Rose bud" mine in southern Wyoming. Pickets didn't like the idea of non-union labour entering the mine.
The persuasion was rather violent. And so was the reaction from Wyoming State troopers and local Sheriff's deputies.
Pickets were arrested, and guns found in their cars were confiscated. A local judge issued an injunction limiting the number of pickets to four. What happened here could happen again. And organising western mines may be as difficult and dangerous as it was in the east more than fifty years ago. In places like Harlan, Kentucky, which got the nick-name "Bloody Harlan" because of the wars between the miners and the seel operators."
Initials ET/2145 ET/2205
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: With the western coalfields of the United States supplying an increasing proportion of the nation's coal, mine workers have been batting to establish their union.
It is estimated that the mines of the West will be providing more than half of America's coal within 10 years -- superseding the old, established mines in the East.
Now, the United Mine Worker's Union -- based in the East -- has been working to establish itself in the newly rich coal-fields.
Already their efforts have met stern resistance from some mine owners and violence has erupted.
In Wyoming, where the campaign for union power has been particularly strong, pickets have been arrested and large arms hauls have been made by the police.
Some observers recall the fierce battles that occurred between workers and mine owners over fifty years when the union was being born in the East. They fear the bitter struggle will happen all over again in the West.