RACINE, W.Va. — Several hundred people attended the 77th annual United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) Labor Day celebration in Racine on Monday.
Coal miners, union officials, politicians and local residents attended the annual event and talked about the tough times faced by the coal industry as well as reasons to celebrate the union.
The Labor Day celebration comes at a tough time for labor. There are widespread layoffs in the coalfields. West Virginia leads the nation in unemployment and there’s not a single working union miner left in Kentucky.
But the smaller union, and its retirees, still packs political muscle. That draws politicians to the event. This is a democrat rally as Republicans got blasted by gubernatorial candidate Jeff Kessler for right-to-work plans.
But with the democrat party backing environmental rules that have hurt coal, the democratic presidential candidate will not have an automatic UMWA endorsement
It was politics and music in Racine on Monday, a Labor Day tradition.
Fred Pace is an editor for Civitas Media. He can be reached at 304-369-1165, ext. 1661, in Madison; at 304-752-6950, ext. 1729 in Logan; by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or @fcpace62 on Twitter.