Changing Technologies and Consequences for Labor in Coal Mining

  • Richard A. Couto
Part of the Plenum Studies in Work and Industry book series (SSWI)


The relations of coal miners and coal managers have always been of central importance in American industrial history. The production of coal measured America’s industrial growth and economic power1 and the relations of miners and managers marked the changed relationship of workers and owners as America’s industry changed. This history is familiar. Miners began to organize during the Civil War and were among the first workers to do so. Their efforts met with unexceeded force and resistance from owners. Battles and even “wars” in the coal fields mar American industrial history.2 Later, the union of coal miners led in the formation of the Congress of Industrial Unions and produced leaders of the AFL and CIO in the 1930s and 1940s.3 At the same time, the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) acquired a degree of organization among workers in a single industry tantamount to a closed shop. Through this achievement miners acquired unprecedented wage and benefit agreements. The power of the union was so great that in November 1946, the New York Times had this worried headline, “25,000,000 (Workers) May Be Idle II Coal Strike Is Prolonged.”4


Coal Mining Bituminous Coal Coal Production Coal Industry Tennessee Valley Authority 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 4.
    Curtis Seltzer, Fire in the Hole: Miners and Managers in the American Coal Industry ,(Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 1985), p. 58.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    John A. Ackerman, “The Impact of the Coal Strike of 1977–8,”Industrial and Labor Relations Review 32, no. 2 (January 1979), pp. 175–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 6.
    Morton S. Baratz, The Union and the Coal Industry (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1955), p. 151. 7.Finley, The Corrupt Kingdom ,p. 9.Google Scholar
  4. 10.
    U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Technology, Productivity, and Labor in the Bituminous Coal Indus try, 1950–79 ,Bulletin No. 2072 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1980), pp. 33–4.Google Scholar
  5. 14.
    U.S. Department of Energy, Coal Data: A Reference (Washington, DC, Energy Information Administration, 1985), pp. 32–3.Google Scholar
  6. 15.
    U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Technology, Productivity, and Labor in the Bituminous Coal Industry, 1950–79 ,p. 13.Google Scholar
  7. 16.
    Thomas C. Campbell and Ming-Jeng Hwang, “Spatial Analysis and the Identification of Coal Markets,”Journal of Energy and Development 4, no. 1 (Autumn 1978), pp. 104–25.Google Scholar
  8. 18.
    U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Technology, Productivity, and Labor in the Bituminous Coal Industry ,1950–79 ,p. 39.Google Scholar
  9. 26.
    James O’Connor, The Fiscal Crisis of the State (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1973), pp. 22–3.Google Scholar
  10. 28.
    Melvyn Dubofsky and Warren Van Tine, John L. Lewis: A Biography (New York: Quadrangle/The New York Times Book Co., Inc., 1977), pp. 371–2.Google Scholar
  11. 47.
    C. L. Christenson, Economic Redevelopment in Bituminous Coal ,(Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1962), pp. 275–6.Google Scholar
  12. 59.
    Charles Craypo, “Introduction to the Special Issue: The Impact on Labor of Changing Corporate Structure and Technology/”Labor Studies Journal 3, no. 3 (Winter 1979), p. 197.Google Scholar
  13. 60.
    John F. Schnell, “The Impact on Collective Bargaining of Oil Company Ownership of Bituminous Coal Properties,”Labor Studies Journal ,3, no. 3 (Winter 1979), p. 205.Google Scholar
  14. 69.
    U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Earnings and Other Characteristics of Organized Workers ,Bulletin 2015, (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1980), p. 31.Google Scholar
  15. 70.
    Jeanne M. Brett and Stephen B. Goldberg, “Wildcat Strikes in Bituminous Coal Mining/” Industrial and Labor Relations Review ,32, no. 4 (July 1979), passim.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 76.
    Paul F. Clark, The Miners’ Fight for Democracy: Arnold Miller and the Reform of the United Mine Workers (Ithaca: New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University, 1981), p. 150.Google Scholar
  17. 84.
    South Africans Tell UMWA:‘Your Fight is Our Fight’, United Mine Workers Journal 96, no. 11 (December 1985), pp. 22–3.Google Scholar
  18. 87.
    U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Technology, Productivity, and Labor in the Bituminous Coal Industry ,1950–79 ,p. 1.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard A. Couto
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Health ServicesVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations