Coal Strike (Clip 1)

Coal Strike (Clip 1) (1978)
Duration: 00:26:20

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Themes: Urban Challenges | Motor City and Motown |

Guests: John Huddleston, Mike Meares, Jane English, Wayne Busby, John Hutchinson, Len Gross, Burdette Crowe, Helen Huddleston, Alec Meiklejohn, Kathy Busby, Cecil Roberts
Host : Ron Scott
Producer : Ron Scott


Summary: Host Ron Scott begins by announcing that negotiations between the United Mine Workers and representatives has been successful and a settlement has been reached. Scott goes on to discuss some of the major details of the agreement, and then interviews Burdette Crowe, a miner, to get more info on the agreement. Crowe however seems unfamiliar with the proposal, and does not feel comfortable commenting on specific proposals. Scott then asks Crowe about the lack of Pension Funds in the provisional agreement, and Crowe voices his concerns and claims he will fight for pension funds in the future. Scott also inquires about the Taft-Hartley act, which Crowe claims was not able to get miners to return to the coal mines. Scott then thanks Crowe for joining the program.
Scott then turns to affiliate WWVU-TV for an interview with Len Gross, a representative of the coal industry. Gross states that during the strike, 13 million tons of coal has been lost during the strike. The program then shifts to Scott’s interview with Charleston’s Mayor John Hutchinson. Hutchinson downplays the negative effect of the strike of the economy of Charleston due to the diversified nature of the economy. Hutchinson also comments on the waning influence of the United Mine Workers and the need for stability between the miners and the operators.
Next, Scott interviews young coal miners Wayne Busby and Alec Meiklejohn. Busby explains possible reasons behind the length of the strike, and reiterates his beliefs that the union will be able to hold out longer. Meiklejohn comments on the lack of employment opportunities in the surrounding areas. Busby’s wife, Kathy voices her concerns over the dangerous working environment of the mines. She also states that she wouldn’t want her son to work in the mine. Another miner, Mike Meares, hopes that someday the mines will be run by the miners themselves, and would be able to make judgments and decisions of their own. Meiklejohn goes on to thank the support of the Auto Workers in Detroit, and draws the connection between the plights of both unions.
The episode then shifts to an interview with a retired miner, John Huddleston. Scott and Huddleston discuss the lack of miner’s pensions. Huddleston also comments on the lack of unions when he began his mining career. Huddleston’s wife Helen tells about her worries as a coal miner’s wife, especially during strikes and labor disputes. John says that he probably would still work in the mines if he could do it all over again, since he did not have the education required to obtain a better job.
Scott then shares some statistics about the nation mortality rate in the mines. He then joins Cecil Roberts, Pres. UMWA Dist. 17 in the mine, who discusses the contract negotiations in Washington and the dangers of working in the coal mines.
The episode returns to the interview between Scott and Huddleston, and Huddleston reflects on his brother’s death in the mine.
Scott then closes out the episodes restating the dangers of the coal industry, and asks the viewer, “which side are you on?”