Which side are you on, Intelligencer?
The morning "newspaper" lectures the UMW
The lead Intelligencer editorial, "Planning Future for Miners," takes the United Mine Workers to task for having endorsed Obama in 2008. Apparently the president is to blame for all the jobs that have been lost in the coal industry. No, it isn't the increased mechanization that began decades ago or the rising cost of getting the hard-to-reach coal found in our southern coalfields or, most importantly, the cheaper and more accessible alternative -- natural gas. No, it's all Obama's and the Democrat's fault. (The last third of the editorial lectures the union on why they should ignore Hillary and endorse a Republican.)
Yes, the UMW should listen to a "newspaper" that:
Editorialized in favor of the rollback in mine safety regulations passed by the Republican legislature in January.
Said nothing about Patriot Coal's recent scrapping of a union contract:
Patriot Coal Corp told the judge in its bankruptcy case on Thursday it must be allowed to scrap contracts with the United Mine Workers of America or risk running out of cash within weeks and seeing its planned sale come undone.
Nor did they cover the UMW response:
The language of the court documents filed by Patriot Coal asking for the elimination of the company’s collective bargaining agreement and its pension obligations would seem to indicate that the UMWA and its members are responsible for the company’s present predicament and that we are holding up a resolution to this bankruptcy.
Nothing could be further from the truth. No group of people have made more sacrifices to get Patriot Coal through the last couple of years than active and retired UMWA members. They have given up millions in wages and benefits, including retiree health care benefits that are a matter of life and death for thousands of them.
And obviously the Intelligencer said nothing while the bankrupt Patriot then gave huge bonuses to top executives:
Patriot Coal Corp's retirees have joined a campaign against its bonus plans for top officers and employees, arguing the bankrupt coal producer need not worry about losing staff to rivals given the industry-wide slump.
The company has requested more than $6 million be set aside for incentive bonuses for five top executives and retention bonuses for 47 non-insider employees.
And then there is the space given in the Intelligencer to the thoughts of Bob Murray, owner of Murray Coal, who is about as anti-union as you can get.
Finally, if you read about the reasons for the decline of Appalachian coal you'll eventually get to the competitive advantage held by western coal: its cheaper chiefly because its often on government property (it's a coal subsidy) and because most of it is non-union. (Not surprising, Murray Coal has a number of mines there.) The Intelligencer, that I'm aware, has never editorialized against the built-into-the-system advantages that makes western coal cheaper because the Murray Coals of this country still make money regardless of where the mine is located.
The Intelligencer is not pro-coal, it's pro-coal owner; it's been silent on UMW concerns because it cares about coal miners only in so much as they serve well as cannon fodder in the "war on coal."