Skip to main content

2012: Miners are cheaper than cardboard props.

Now of course, in retrospect, Romney may be wishing that he had donned overalls and a hard hat and gone himself to the mines. Entered the dark, dirty, and dangerous pits where the miners have been digging for so many years to bring out the coal that has powered a nation, and had his photo-op there. But then, it was so much easier and less expensive to have the miners hand delivered to him by their boss, living breathing props standing behind him, clapping and cheering right on cue. And Romney in a nice white starched shirt, posing as their defender.

But to miners, the word "prop" has another meaning, having to do with mine safety. Props in the grandfather's day were the timbers that held up the roof of the mine preventing cave-ins. Props took time and cost money to put up. And being paid by the ton, the pressure was always on for the miners to dig and load the coal as fast as possible.

1912/13 Miners are cheaper than timber props.

In August of 1912, Mother Jones spoke before a mass meeting on the steps of the capitol in Charleston, West Virginia. She was speaking on behalf of striking miners:

A [reporter] says, "Why don't you prop the mines?" The operator said, "Oh, hell; Dagoes are cheaper than props!" Now, every miner is a Dago with the blood-sucking pirates, and they are cheaper than props, because if they kill a hundred of you, why, it was your fault.
Mother Jones repeated this story to the miners of Trinidad, Colorado, just before their strike in September of 1913. She was urging unity between the miners of all the many nationalities within their ranks. Regarding the use by the operators of the term, "Dagoes," she warned:
Don't you see their plan was to divide the working class?
She exhorted the miners not to let the coal operators divide them, and to stand together in unity:
I want you to pledge yourselves in this convention to stand as one solid army against the foes of human labor. Think of the thousands who are killed every year and there is no redress for it. We will fight until the mines are made secure and human life valued more than props.

WE NEVER FORGET
Aug 6 & 16, 2007
Crandall Canyon Mine Disaster
Emery Co, Utah

     Kerry Allred                      Gary Jensen
     Luís Hernandez                 Brandon Kimber
     Carlos Payon                    Dale Black
     Don Erickson
     Manuel Sanchez
     Brandon Phillips

Robert E Murray & Murray Energy Corporation

The Ohio mine which uses its living miners like cardboard props, is owned by Murray Energy Corporation. The Crandall Canyon Mine in Emery Co, Utah was owned by a subsidiary of this same corporation. Safety violations were found in connection with the disaster, and fines were announced, but no arrests were ever made. None ever are when workers lives are lost due to management neglect. The fines were small compared to the yearly profits. Miners lives are still cheaper than safety, even yet today.

Miner's Life
So in conclusion bare in memory
Keep this password in your mind
Workers strength cannot be broken
When in Union you combine.
Stand up tall, and stand together.
Victory for you prevails.
Keep your hand upon your wages,
And your eye upon scale.

Union Miners stand together
Do not heed the Coal Boss tale
Keep your hand upon your wages
And your eye upon scale.

Originally posted to WE NEVER FORGET on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 01:12 PM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Anti-Capitalist Chat.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (17+ / 0-)

    WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Sept: Viola Liuzzo Voting Rights Martyr

    by JayRaye on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 01:12:30 PM PDT

  •  Like I said before; Murray is a killer; it't not a (6+ / 0-)

    person because it would be tried, convicted and on death row.

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 01:18:37 PM PDT

  •  My grandfather (6+ / 0-)

    was one of those “Dagos” working in the Southern Colorado coal mines – he died of black lung.
     Ludlow (near Trinidad ) was not a town until all the tents set up by families that had been kicked out of the company's houses were there - my family lived in Berwind.  The Ludlow Massacre was just a fraction of the number killed – all toll, 139 men, women and children were killed.  Ludlow was the first time the Maxim Automatic Machine Gun was used in a “hostile action” - it went on to be the quintessential tool of death and destruction in WWI  .
    Needless to say, my family has never looked kindly on coal mine owners and have been labor Democrats since the late 19th century.  IMO, many of today's mines are only marginally better than the mines of 1913 in Berwind Canyon, Colorado.

    "If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them. Isaac Asimov (8.25 / -5.64}

    by carver on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 02:10:04 PM PDT

    •  Thank you carver, (4+ / 0-)

      you might be interested in this diary I wrote about the Ludlow Massacre:
      http://www.dailykos.com/...

      I do have some of the other names, for example, those killed by guards at the Walsenburg tent colony.

      But still searching for many of the others who died as labor martyrs in that heroic struggle.

      My heart goes out to your Grandfather. The miners of Southern Colorado were brave in the extreme. We owe them so much.

      WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Sept: Viola Liuzzo Voting Rights Martyr

      by JayRaye on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 02:18:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Do you have a copy (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JayRaye

        of The Great Coal Field War?
        It was written by George McGovern (original his Doctoral thesis ).  It's a picture of the life and times of the miners, the union, state and local financial interest, corrupt politicians (including the Governor), law enforcement, businessmen, state and national...in short anyone with any power got bought.  It's a great reference book.  My father read it as did a couple of my aunts [ my aunt Liz was the last of my parent's generation – she died a week ago]  All three of them said, as far as they knew, it was accurate.

        "If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them. Isaac Asimov (8.25 / -5.64}

        by carver on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 04:08:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This is one that I haven't gotten to yet. (0+ / 0-)

          The books that I have on So CO Coalfield Strike are all listed at the diary. McGovern's book is a must read for this strike, and I will get to it one of these days.

          So many books...so little time.

          Sadly, so many books just say something like, "5 were killed." The WE NEVER FORGET project seeks to honor labor martyrs by identifying them and remembering them by name.

          Also amazing is to go to a library that has the volumes of the house committee reports & the Commission on Industrial Relations. This is testimony directly from people who were there. I read some of it while in the area studying the strike. I think it was the Trinidad library that had it, if I remember right. (Long time ago.)

          WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Oct: Miners are cheaper than props.

          by JayRaye on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 04:39:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Robena Mine, Carmichaels, Greene County,PA (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JayRaye, tardis10, Swill to Power

    A night and rain photo of a Memorial to those killed when I was almost 4 years old. This Memorial is at the first rest stop on I-79 North coming out of West Virginia.

    erie_06042011_059

    Just your average every day Autistic hillbilly/biker/activist/union steward with an engineering degree.

    by Mentatmark on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 02:44:19 PM PDT

  •  miners are cheaper than mules, too (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JayRaye
    I heard the boss man say one time, he said "You be sure, don't get that mule in no place where the rock will fall in on him. Don't take that mule in no bad place." I said, "What about me?" I was driving a mule then. "What about me? The rock will fall in on me." He said, "We can always hire another man. You gotta buy that mule."
    •  Thank you StP for this video. (0+ / 0-)

      To our fellow workers: The miners, and their families,
      we love you and stand by you.

      Solidarity Forever!

      WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Oct: Miners are cheaper than props.

      by JayRaye on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 06:27:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site