Event

Ryan Driskell Tate, Rutgers University

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"Labor’s Last Stand": 1970s Energy Politics and the United Mine Workers in the American West, Ryan Driskell Tate

The collapse of the United Mine Workers of America in the late-twentieth century owed much to shifting geography of coal production into the western states. As coal companies fled for the American West in the face of 1960s social regulations, and labor unrest in Appalachia, they engineered highly-mechanized strip mines to deliberately contour the “union-free environment” that so eluded them elsewhere. As new workers tried to exert their collective power on the job, they failed to unionize in the face formidable barriers. The defeat of the UMWA’s “western campaign” forever changed the national politics of energy and work.

Respondents: Trish Kahle, University of Chicago & Darren Dochuck, University of Notre Dame