Coal miner Travis Hartley can relate to the concerns expressed by other young workers in a recent survey. Many are losing ground financially – and they’re less optimistic about the future.
The third-generation member of the United Mine Workers counts himself lucky to belong to an organization that improved the lives of his father and grandfather. So he’s organizing other young workers to challenge a giant coal company threatening to open two non-union operations in southwestern Pennsylvania.
“I’m proud to be a union coal miner and I’m going to make sure I stay that way,” he declared.
The drive to the borough of Clarksville (population 240) winds along the scenic Monongahela River past an abandoned coal mine and a shuttered union hall – once damaged by a bomb during an organizing drive.