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Today in Labor History

Sept. 17, 1989
The ten-month Pittston Coal strike began on this date, as 98 miners and a minister occupied the Pittston Coal Company’s Moss 3 preparation plant in Carbo, Virginia. The strike began after Pittston terminated health benefits for retirees, widows and disabled miners. State troopers were called in to arrest strikers after violent conflicts erupted, yet the struggle barely made the news the United States. Arguably the most militant strike of the time, the United Mine Workers (UMWA) engaged in a variety of actions, ranging from a nonviolent takeover to mineworkers blockading the road into the plants, leading to their arrest. The United Mine Workers (UMWA) ultimately won, and the Pittston strike became one of the few labor victories of the 1980s.
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