HOW WILL DONALD TRUMP HELP THE MINERS WHO VOTED FOR HIM?

Coal miners have a dangerous job, the world over.  Besides breathing toxic coal dust, day after day, and over long shifts, miners’ lives are also jeopardized by potential gas explosions and collapsing tunnels.  Government regulations appear to be loosely-enforced, and coal industry lobbyists seem to have friendly access to Congress.

According “…to an investigation by NPR and the Center for Public Integrity found federal regulators and the mining industry are failing to protect miners from the excessive toxic coal mine dust that causes “Black Lung”.  The disease is now being diagnosed in younger miners and evolving more quickly to complicated stages.”  The NPR report is linked, as follows: http://www.npr.org/2012/07/05/156302772/what-is-black-lung.

Given the irreversible effects of “Black Lung”, the cumulative effect of breathing the toxic coal dust, the dangers of mine safety and the deterioration of current and former miners health, why don’t the men (and some women) in the region just change careers?   There are other, safer jobs, such as carpentry, auto repair, welding, etc.  And why aren’t the younger generations, aware of the dirty, hard work, and the dangerous conditions, discouraged from following their fathers and other relatives down into the mines?

When Donald Trump campaigned in Kentucky, West Virginia, and other regions in “Coal Country”, he promised to bring the jobs back.  But, are these the jobs that a rational person should want—for their husbands, their sons, their brothers, uncles, etc?  Didn’t they also hear Trump say that he would eliminate regulations so that business could prosper?  Don’t the miners realize that those regulations were intended to protect them?

Consider just two of the people who he has nominated for his Cabinet. Wilbur Ross, a billionaire neighbor of Trump in Palm Beach, is his nominee for Commerce Secretary.  Mr. Ross amassed his fortune buying distressed businesses, laying-off workers, busting-up unions and reneging on pensions.  The linked article, from the Miami Herald, describes his history with the Sago Mine Number One catastrophe: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/fred-grimm/article118356218.html.

Elaine Chao, Trump’s nominee for Transportation Secretary, was George W. Bush’s Secretary of Labor.  Ken Ward, Jr, a columnist with the Charleston Gazette, reported in his “Coal Tattoo” Blog, that Ms. Chao, when she was Secretary of Labor, “ …encouraged regulators to regulate less and cooperate more with a highly hazardous industry, with a history of death and disaster.” The link is as follows: http://blogs.wvgazettemail.com/coaltattoo/2016/11/30/trump-getting-the-old-band-back-together/

The combination of pledging support for jobs, de-regulating industry and—let’s not forget his pledge not to raise the Minimum Wage—it surely doesn’t require a genius to figure out who’s going to win, between businesses and labor!  In a situation where the coal industry has deep pockets and labor unions have been virtually emasculated, is there any question as to how safe coal mining will be under {resident Trump?

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  1. #1 by cheekos on December 6, 2016 - 6:28 PM

    Although this post specifically addressed the hazards that coal miners faces, consider those of men and women who work on oil rigs, and health care workers whose daily work involves moving elderly and invalid people around. There are numerous jobs in America where corporations might take advantage of loosely-enforced regulations.

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