More than 30 years ago, fresh out of the military, and naÃ¯vely in search of high wages, risk and excitement, I arrived in Emery County looking for work in the coal industry. Other than a blurry stereotype, the work of a coal miner was an unknown. I had no preference for my new employment (union or nonunion); I wanted a job. By chance, my first work was at a union mine.
Over the next decade union mines were in trouble and many failed. Now, due to its ideal location near a coal burning power plant, only one union mine has survived, and it is contract time; a time when both sides look to improve their financial position.
In this session's negotiations the company has leverage over the union, with a twist. Their advantage is born from a contrived belief in man-made global warming. Coal is very uncool with President Obama and he freely uses his executive powers to disparage its continued use in our country. His Democrat Party had been an ally of the iconic coal miner with a black dust covered face, but now there is more money to be made supporting green planet savers.
Shrewd owners take advantage of this policy by promoting green energy, and making money from it whenever possible. This gives them an opportunity in labor negotiations to push harder for less payout to employees in carbon industries. They know the President's compliant media will not show favor towards carbon dependent unions in their reporting of any labor conflict; help unions have always received. The Democrat Party has moved on and found greener pastures to build on. They get the green gold mine, while coal miners get the shaft.