For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

"What Killed the Miners? Profits Over Safety?"

WASHINGTON - MARK BRENNER
Director of Labor Notes,
Brenner said today: "The tragic deaths of at least 25 miners at the
Upper Big Branch mine isn't really an 'accident.' Workplace fatalities
are rarely accidents. They often occur in places where inspection and
enforcement of health and safety hazards in the workplace have been
eroded over a long period. The mine's owner, Massey, has a long record
of safety violations, including 57 discovered just last month. Corporate
restructuring and the destruction of unions in the mines have deprived
workers of their advocate and watchdog in the workplace. Coupled with
the erosion of federal workplace hazard oversight and enforcement under
the Bush administration -- which virtually gutted the Mine Safety and
Health Administration -- it's led to a volatile situation in the
industry."

JEFF BIGGERS
Biggers just wrote the piece
"What
Killed the Miners? Profits Over Safety?
" The piece states: "All
coal mining safety laws have been written in miners' blood. My
grandfather, who barely survived an explosion in a coal mine in southern
Illinois, taught me this phrase.
...

"Massey, of course, has become infamous for its devastating
mountaintop removal operations. ... But the company also pleaded guilty
to criminal violations for a January, 2006 fire at the Aracoma mine in
Logan County, W.Va., which took the lives of two miners."

Biggers is the author of Reckoning at Eagle Creek: The Secret
Legacy of Coal in the Heartland
and The United States of
Appalachia
.

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