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It seems like everyone is ready to saddle the management of the coal mine with blame for the safety issues that led to the West Virginia mine explosion.  No doubt there is much blame there.  What I want to know is, where was their union? If the mine was unsafe and the union leaders knew it, why had they not called for a job action to force management to make the place safer?

Unlike most conservatives, I believe there is a legitimate place in the economy for labor unions.  After all, banding together to form a union is an expression of economic freedom just as stockholders banding together to form a management structure is an expression of economic freedom.  Labor and management both have their proper spheres.  Unions need to be holding management accountable for safety before an accident, not after.

One Comment

  1. “Unions need to be holding management accountable for safety before an accident, not after.”

    Good point there, Brother Steve. In this case, the mine wasn’t unionized. There’s much dust to settle before we’ll know the truth of the safety issues, imo – it IS clear that Massey was in a hot dispute with regulators about air flow conditions just prior to the explosion. I don’t know enough details, though, to elaborate further on that…

    Personally, from my immediate experience in WV, I am most skeptical about unions in general. I tend to think they were originally very necessary, but , like most original ideas in the US, have often gone too far in the extreme — holding business owners “hostage” via irrational demands, threatening non-union laborers, and harassing bus. owners who do not want them distributing their propaganda to employees during work hours.

    Posted on 11-Apr-10 at 20:21 pm | Permalink

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