What it means to be ‘a good company man’

September 19, 2017

Retired miner and Marxist-Humanist Andy Phillips recounts an incident from the Consolidation Coal Company whose foreman refused compensation for a worker who sustained a back injury from years of laying 10 foot steel rails that weighed 60 pounds a foot.

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‘Workless’ capitalism?

July 4, 2016

Universal Basic Income is posed by some as a solution to the robotization of work and a “workless society” but this ignores Marx’s liberatory vision of a society in which labor is completely transformed so as to become life’s prime want.

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One year for 29 lives!

May 18, 2016

Massey Coal’s CEO Don Blankenship gets only 1 year in prison for murdering 29 coal miners in the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion of 2010!

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In memoriam Olga Domanski, 1923-2015

January 24, 2016

The world has lost a great fighter for liberation. Olga Domanski, one of the founders of News and Letters Committees, whose life’s work was the development and projection of Marxist-Humanism and the growth of its organizational expression.

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Olga Domanski, 1923-2015

January 7, 2016

The world has lost a great fighter for liberation. Olga Domanski, one of the founders of News and Letters Committees, whose life’s work was the development and projection of Marxist-Humanism and the growth of its organizational expression.

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Disappearing coalminers

August 31, 2015

Escalating bankruptcies in the nation’s coal industry paint a grim future for the industry and for coal miners and their families. The bankruptcies, sweeping the coal fields everywhere, have affected the largest and smallest mines. As a result, thousands of coal miners have been laid off.

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UAW to fight two-tier?

April 30, 2015

Detroit—Meeting on March 24-25, some 900 delegates from more than 800 local unions representing automotive, aerospace, education, healthcare, public work and other areas of the economy heard reports and discussed strategies for the United Auto Workers (UAW) contract that expires in September 2015.

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Workshop Talks: 1949 coal miners’ general strike today

We workers see from the inside that capitalism is coming apart. The 1949-50 Coal Miners’ General Strike is significant, not only because it highlights resistance to the early stage of automation, but because the miners’ self-activity signified “The Emergence of a New Movement from Practice That Is Itself a Form of Theory.”

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Will UAW represent rank and file again?

March 8, 2015

There will be a laundry list of grievances presented at the United Auto Workers (UAW) union bargaining convention to be held in Detroit, Mich, in March. Many of these grievances have been festering throughout auto plants in the country since 2009, when General Motors and Chrysler went bankrupt.

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Murderous King Coal on trial

January 29, 2015

Don Blankenship—owner of the Upper Big Branch Massey mine in West Virginia in 2010 when the mine exploded, killing 29 coal miners—was indicted. Nevertheless, the coal lobby still exerts considerable power in the state, and uses that power to support mountaintop mining and to thwart environmentally progressive programs that try to minimize the many dangerous aspects of coal mining.

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UAW shirks campaign at Mercedes-Benz

November 22, 2014

Detroit—Instead of holding an election of rank-and-file workers at the Mercedes-Benz auto plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala., the United Auto Workers union (UAW) in October simply declared that Local Union 112 was in existence to represent workers at the plant. UAW officials said they hoped to convince a majority of the 3,400 full-time workers there to join the union, and are seeking to persuade Mercedes-Benz management to accept the union as the sole representative of the workers….

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Put miners in charge

August 29, 2014

From the September-October 2014 issue of News & Letters

Detroit—A mid-May fire killed 301 miners by carbon monoxide poisoning due to mine owners’ negligence in the worst coal mine disaster in Turkey’s history (see “Turkish miners killed,” July-August N&L). First reports indicated that the fire started when a transformer blew up. A subsequent investigation revealed that [=>]

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Which side is UAW on?

July 7, 2014

From the July-August 2014 issue of News & Letters

Detroit—The United Auto Workers (UAW) union elected Dennis Williams, former UAW secretary-treasurer, as president for a four-year term during the union’s Constitutional Convention held in Detroit on June 4-5. Following his election, Williams pledged to eliminate the existing two-tier wage system that pays new hires [=>]

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VW anti-UAW vote

March 27, 2014

The shocking defeat of the United Auto Workers in a union election at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, dealt a serious blow to the organizing strategy of the UAW in the South.

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Attacks on organizing

April 6, 2013

The number of unionized workers in the U.S. last year dropped by 400,000 members, to 14.3 million workers. Assaults on unions like right-to-work legislation in Indiana and Michigan and laws narrowing the right to union representation in Wisconsin had a huge impact on unions. The most important development is the transformation of union leadership from being militant fighters to contract concessionary specialists and corporation supporters.

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Black lung disease increasing in youth

September 16, 2012

Detroit, Mich.–An alarming increase in black lung disease (pneumoconiosis) among coal miners is raising serious questions about the effectiveness of coal dust suppression in the nation’s mines. Since the 1980s, cases of the disease have quadrupled in West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia. Whereas before it had primarily affected older miners, studies by the Center for Public Integrity, the [=>]

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Justice still overdue for 29 murdered coal miners

April 10, 2012

Detroit—A new break in late February signaled a giant step forward in the prosecution of officials at the Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia, where a methane gas and coal dust explosion two years ago killed 29 miners in the worst mine disaster in 40 years. The break came when federal prosecutors filed [=>]

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Miners’ lives bought at discount rates

February 17, 2012

Detroit—A $209 million settlement, and a record $10.8 million in fines: that’s what newspaper headlines, TV and radio news reports throughout the nation proclaimed on Dec. 7 for the mine safety violations that killed 29 coal miners on April 5, 2010, at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia. It was then owned by [=>]

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UAW and Big 3 still fear rank and file

December 8, 2011

UAW and Big 3 still fear rank and file

Detroit—The new auto industry contract just ap­proved by the autoworkers created a huge well of dis­content among the rank and file that will surely mani­fest itself in many ways during the four-year contract. Indications of this were evident during the ratification process, when it became apparent in [=>]

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Permanent army of the unemployed

October 3, 2011

Detroit–The unemployment crisis is reaching far into the future. Whereas many government and private economists have been predicting that the economy will pick up in the next quarter or the next year, new reports conclude that in 50 U.S. metropolitan areas, it will take at least a decade to regain employment lost since the 2008 [=>]

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What UAW workers must take back

August 12, 2011

Detroit–Many challenges face the rank-and-file auto workers as the stage is being set for auto contract negotiations in July. Their future is not promising, despite the rhetoric of United Auto Workers union President Bob King that emphasizes the restoration of benefits lost through contract concessions and the General Motors (GM) and Chrysler bankruptcies.

The losses began [=>]

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Militant labor and corporate attacks

May 15, 2011

Detroit–A new militant spirit in labor is now coming into play, sparked by the militant struggle against the onslaught of Wisconsin unionized public workers. This opposition is re-energizing the union movement and producing new leaders who are expressing their opposition to their own union leaders and their concessionary mentality. There is positive promise in these [=>]

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Mine owners and Congress desecrate 29 miners’ graves

February 24, 2011

Detroit–Following the coal mine explosion that killed 29 miners at the Massey Coal Company’s Upper Big Branch mine last April, Congressional hearings disclosed the horrendous safety violations at that mine and produced a lot of breast beating and outraged outcries vowing to pass mine safety legislation that would “never allow this to happen again.”

At that [=>]

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Secret UAW-GM deal

November 27, 2010

Secret UAW-GM deal

Detroit–More than 100 UAW workers from Michigan, Ohio and Indiana picketed the UAW headquarters here Oct. 16 to protest a two-tier wage agreement made secretly by UAW leaders with General Motors (GM). It would permit GM to pay 40% of the workers about $14 an hour, half the regular $28 an hour. Workers [=>]

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Chilean miners’ rescue evokes many views

November 12, 2010

From the Nov.-Dec. 2010 issue of News & Letters:

Chilean miners’ rescue evokes many views

It is Oct. 13 and I am visually and sonically inundated with blow-by-blow descriptions of the Chilean miner rescue operation. TV, radio and newspapers have whipped themselves into a frenzy reporting the rescue of 33 miners from a collapsed mine in Chile. [=>]

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