Effect Measure

Upper Big Branch Mine

This song was written by Florence Reece in 1930 – 1931 during the bloody campaign to organize workers in Harlan County, KY. They were fighting for safer working conditions. Mine safety has improved since then, mainly because of the mine workers union, but workers in many mines, like the Upper Big Branch in Montcoal, WV have no union. If they complain about safety, they are out of a job. In this area and in the West Virginia legislature, Big Coal is still king.

Natalie Merchant:

Comments

  1. #1 Rob Jase
    April 10, 2010

    If only the government hadn’t overregulated mine safety…its stealing our freedom to die in free-market disasters.

  2. #2 ecologist
    April 10, 2010

    The sound quality on this version is off (at least when I listen to it). Here’s a better version

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRjnlsxX150

  3. #3 A Canuck
    April 10, 2010

    A friend of mine is a labour lawyer representing workers and their rights. She says that mining safety and government regulation have been following an unfortunate cyclical path for decades. Mining safety is bad so governments regulate it. After a few safe years the mining companies point to their safety record and lobby the government to relax the regulations and allow the industry to self regulate. A few years later a bunch of miners die.

  4. #4 A Canuck
    April 10, 2010

    A friend of mine is a labour lawyer representing workers and their rights. She says that mining safety and government regulation have been following an unfortunate cyclical path for decades. Mining safety is bad so governments regulate it. After a few safe years the mining companies point to their safety record and lobby the government to relax the regulations and allow the industry to self regulate. A few years later a bunch of miners die.

  5. #5 Cate
    April 10, 2010

    Thanks for revealing the hx of the song, Revere. I had always liked it, but now I know why!!

    Though slavery is now illegal, the thinking that produced slavery is still highly prevalent. Einstein was correct, we need to change the thinking that has created our problems.

  6. #6 Jose
    April 11, 2010

    Also a great Billy Bragg version here….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbddqXib814