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Miners Unions Organize Around Mine Tragedy

Miners Unions Organize Around Mine Tragedy



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Andrew Adams, KSL NewsradioWith three rescuers dead and six miners still trapped, it's a time when everyone in Huntington is in search of faith and something to believe in. There are some people looking for converts, but it's not what you'd expect.

Frank Forrestal: "We've been out here and we continue to be part of a fight that's needed."

Frank Forrestal is trying to get the people of Huntington to man-up.

Frank Forrestal: "The reception's been good. We've been talking to people door to door."

What's he selling? The union. He came all the way from Iowa to do it. Forrestal is a frequent contributor to the publication, "The Militant." He's trying to get people to subscribe to the paper - and the ideology - that unionizing non-union mines like Crandall Canyon would solve a lot of problems. He says unions work.

Frank Forrestal: "We took 'em on on a lot of different questions, and it made a big difference coming out of the mine alive every day."

Huntington mayor Hilary Gordon: "Actually, I hadn't heard about that, but truly nothing surprises me."

Huntington Mayor Hilary Gordon wasn't sure how she felt about that when she learned it was going on in her town.

Hilary Gordon: "This is something that Mr. Murray, and MSHA, and I'm sure companies on down the road will have to work out. What I'm concerned with, and what my heart goes out to, and my thoughts are, that's with the families right now."

And Gordon, more or less, says let the miners think for themselves.

Hilary Ggordon: "I think these miners know well what they're doing, and which mines they want to work for. Given all the information they have, I don't think that one person should try to influence another."

But it's happening. And Forrestal says it has to happen.

Frank Forrestal: "It's on the communities to change this terrible situation."

Reporter: "Can they make a difference?"

Frank Forrestal: "Yeah, I think the key thing is the UMWA (United Mine Workers of America). Joining the UMWA, asking the UMWA to help them and organize the mine that they're in."

Forrestal says this is about ensuring miners' safety in the future. The tough part may be turning community members into activists for tomorrow, when they're consumed with the uncertainty of life and death, day to day.

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