Coal Negotiations

Archive Report

Confrontation Over New Contract

Impact of Possible Strike on American Economy

This is the year of the coal miner, according to Arnold Miller, president of the United Mine Workers of America, representing 120,000 soft coal miners.1 The energy crisis, rising oil prices and a worldwide steel boom have led to an unprecedented demand for coal. Not since the 1940s, when John L. Lewis played on coal's crucial role in the war effort and the postwar boom, have miners felt so indispensable to their country—and so powerful. As they negotiate a new contract to replace that which expires Nov. 12, they intend to use their newly rediscovered strength. Miller told delegates to the union's convention in December 1973: “These negotiations will be as tough as any the ...

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