Harlan County, U.S.A (1976) Movie Script

Fire in the hole!
Fire in the hole!
Fire in the hole!
All clear.
Come, all you young fellers
So brave and so fine
Seek not your fortune
Way down in the mines
It'll form like a habit
And will sink in your soul
Till the streams of your blood
Runs as black as the coal
Where it's dark as a dungeon
Damp as a tomb
Where the danger is double
And the pleasures are few
Where the rain never falls
The sun never shines
It's dark as a dungeon
Way down in the mine
- She out here smilin'?
- Yeah. Smile for her.
Why do them girls
got them car clothes on?
For 42 years
Been a mighty long time
I labored and toiled
Down in a coal mine
Down in a deep hole
Where the bright lights did glow
Back in a dark room
A- spadin'up coal
My bones, they did ache me
My kneecaps got bad
Down on a hard rock
On a set of knee pads
The motors were shiftin'
I got sand in my hair
Both lungs were broke down
From a-breathin' bad air
Coal mining was rough.
Eighteen and 20 hours.
Get wet, come outside,
and your clothes'd be froze to stiff.
It would sound like a fire broom hit 'em
make a rattling noise.
They worked you like
workin'a mule or a brute.
I heard the boss man to say one time
He said, "You be sure...
"don't get that mule no place
where the rock'll fall in on him.
Don't take that mule to no bad place. "
I said, uh, "Well, what about me?"
I was drivin' mule then.
"What about me,
if a rock had fallen on me?"
He said, "We can always hire another man,
but you gotta buy that mule."
In other words, he thought more
of the mule than he did a man.
My grandfather was a coal miner...
and belonged to the union
the U.M. W.
And, uh, he died with black lung.
Uh, I can remember sittin' around,
you know, when we were younger...
And him talkin' about
bein' on picket lines and organizin'.
I mean, that was that was
mostly what we talked about...
Sittin' around the table
after supper and all.
Most of our conversation was his union
You know, when he was
organizin' for the union...
And things that happened on the picket line
and things that the company did to you.
So I began to hate the company,
you know, uh
I mean, seemed like I just always did.
I knew they were our enemy, you know.
And then, uh, when I watched him die...
And suffer like he did
with that black lung disease...
I knew that something
could be done about it.
I told myself then, if I ever get the opportunity
to get those coal operators, I will.
'Cause I thought, you know...
They was the enemy.
So when this strike came up,
I saw the opportunity and I jumped right in there.
Let's get up there at 5:00
in the morning and fix you a good cup of coffee.
Let's be there and show these Brookside workers
what we can do for 'em.
Let's stand on our two feet and show these boys
we can help 'em get a contract.
Let's show the people of Harlan County
we stand together.
'Cause you filed for this contract.
We gonna get it.
Hey, the fire's done hot now.
There ain't much they can do.
All you boys on that football field,
I want you to be there in the mornin'.
Let's show Carl Horn that we stand on two feet
here in Harlan County.
We'll sit there and sweat
when it's snowin'.
We'll stand right there until that
U.M.W.A. contract is signed at Brookside.
All you people here on Black Mountain,
we'd highly appreciate it...
if you'd be there at 5:00
sunrise revival at Brookside, Kentucky.
Let's don't back off.
Let's don't let one man run us out of Harlan.
Yeah, boys, that's where it's happenin'
Brookside at 5:00, Monday mornin'.
Let's be down there to support
the Brookside workers.
I got hurt down there
about a year ago at Brookside.
I had about 300 pounds of steel
on my head.
They took me to the hospital,
sewed my head up.
Had a hole cut through my nose here.
I was off one day and the superintendent
sent a feller over, said, uh...
"Get him to come on back up here and work.
We'll make it easy on him so he won't lose no time."
Went back up there, and then it
knocked me out of compensation or anything.
Come back with my head busted open.
That's the way they want you
to work down there.
Protect your family. U.M.W.A.
Join now, boys.
Need your support.
Take some letters for a buddy.
It's on the house.
Now you're a real pal.
- Need your support, buddy.
- May the good Lord take a likin' to ya.
- You know I will.
- I like that. I like that.
- Hey, I'll put one on the car if you want me to.
- U.M.W.A. all the way.
Here, give me one.
I'll put it on his car for him.
Right on the bumper there
"Tennessee is a U.M. W.A. State."
We're out of Kentucky stickers.
We need more of them.
Organize the unorganized.
With organization,
you have the aid of your fellow man.
Without organization...
You're a lone individual...
Without influence...
And without recognition of any kind.
An exploitation...
Of you and your family...
When it pleases some industrialist...
Who desires to make money
from your misery.
Well, we'd like to have every man
that'll walk this picket duty with us
To get his name before he leaves,
and we'll break it up.
These boys on this committee'll
break it down...
And we'll get somethin' goin' here.
Come on up and sit around.
It ain't no big thing.
You ain't gonna be doin'nothin'no way,
cryin'about how broke you are, like I am.
We'd sure appreciate that.
Would you like a sticker?
We're protesting.
We're protesting Duke Power's
control over these men...
that voted in the U.M. W. Contract...
and Duke Power says,
"No, you can't have that contract. "
We have made them...
Dozens and dozens of proposals...
Of different language...
In these areas of disagreement.
They read 'em and throw 'em back.
They have no counterproposal.
If you could settle it quietly,
I would think maybe you'd do it and say...
"Well, maybe they won this battle,
but we've got 'em off our back. "
Well, I would agree with you to this extent
I'd like to have 'em off our back.
They're treatin' us
like we're animals, dogs.
Well, we aren't.
We're American citizens.
And they are violatin'
our constitutional rights...
when they tell us that we can't have
the union of our choice...
that those men voted in.
If you looked on TVthe other day,
you seen women goin'up there, and men
"Impeach Nixon.
Impeach Nixon."
But you let us get up there
with pick uh, with protest signs...
Against Duke Power...
And they're sendin' their gun thugs
to intimidate us.
What do you think when unions
are destroying our whole country?
Mr. Hoffa's in the penitentiary...
The Teamster Union
are known communists...
The Longshoremen
are known communists.
Every union in the country strikin',
what will happen to our country?
The men wants higher wages.
They're gonna strike for it.
The union is backing 'em.
They stay on strike
till they get their higher wages.
Like I explained to my daughter, I said,
there's a spool of thread there.
That thread might have been 15 cents.
A man goes on strike, I said, if they want 30
more cents on an hour They get their 30 cents.
When they go back to work,
they got to raise that price to cover that wage.
The unions is what's doin'it.
The unions is ruinin'
the United States.
I went to work when I was 10 years old
pickin' slate in the coal burner.
Well, at that time
we were workin' 10 hours a day...
And we were gettin'
six-and-a-fraction cents an hour.
Well, we breaker boys...
we'd have our feet in the chute
and we'd be pickin'the slate out...
when the breaker boss
would sneak up behind us.
And ifhe'd see a piece of slate
he'd pick up the slate and hit you
in the back with it, and hit you hard.
And he'd said, "Pick that slate up."
Well, they used to abuse us, actually.
Well, finally we got to a stage where we figured
that, well, we was gonna strike.
That was when I learned
my first real political lesson...
About what happens when you
take a position against the coal operators...
Against the capitalists.
Well, the first thing that happened...
The union officials came to us
and told us we'd have to go back to work...
That we were violating the agreement.
We said, "To hell with the agreement.
We're gonna strike until we get our demands."
Well, then the politicians began
visiting us and putting pressure on us.
Then the parish priests.
Well, finally the coal company
did agree to meet with us...
and they agreed
to raise the hourly pay...
from six-and-a-fraction cents
to eight cents an hour.
So we thought
we got big concessions.
Today that wouldn't mean anything.
That's only peanuts.
But it meant a whole lot to us
and our paycheck at that period.
Well, this was my first lesson
that if you stuck to your organization
and stuck together in solidarity...
You could defeat them.
Besides that, I learned that the politicians
worked with the coal companies.
I found out that the union officials
were working with the coal companies.
I also found out that the Catholic hierarchy
was working with the coal officials.
Here was a combination
of the whole thing, see
that you had to bump up
against the whole combination of them.
When the coal and iron police would find out
who was trying to instigate a union...
well, they'd abuse them.
The miners figured, well,
the only way they could fight back...
was to abuse them,
pay them for what they was doin'.
So they began to use, then, violence...
in retaliation of the violence
that was bein'used against them.
This kind of a struggle
went on to such a degree...
that there was many of the mine foremen
there was many of the police
and, of course,
there was many miners gettin'killed.
It was regular guerrilla warfare.
And some of the early ideas of guerrilla warfare
developed out of that kind of struggle.
The coal company gets every dollar
which he can chisel out of some coal miner...
through oppressive management tactics.
So why wouldn't the coal operators
be satisfied?
The government is acting
as their muscleman.
Tax money of Kentucky at work...
breakin'the organized labor.
Organized labor.
Organized labor.
Well, hell, I don't think they're in here
for anything except break the strike here.
They are for the company all the way,
for the operators.
I don't have any feelings one way or the other.
Just have a job to do.
- And why are you here?
- To keep the roads open.
Enforce laws, keep the peace,
try to keep people from gettin' hurt.
Move down here, please.
- Don't put your hands on me, hoss.
- All right.
"Bailey." You know, my name's Bailey,
and you're a damn disgrace to the Bailey family.
Boy, this is a damn shame.
A Bailey, y'all, a state cop. Ain't that a shame?
You wanna get a shot of somethin',
get a shot of this baby hangin' off him.
That's what I been lookin' at.
It's the same diameter as this right here.
Once a scab
There ain't no healin'for a scab.
You know?
- Hell, that's some nerve.
- Here they come.
There's the damn guy drawed that gun on me.
Right there. Right there.
You son of a bitch, you.
Get 'em outta here.
- Hey. That's goddamn wrong.
- That's the kind of goddamn law we got.
- Donny.
- They ask, you tell the people.
They'll set a while out back,
your two families.
Hey. Hey.
What in the hell you think you're doin'?
Scabbin' bastards.
- Go on, sucky.
- Hey, scab.
Hey, go on. Hey, go on.
Excuse me. Have some of my hand.
- Goddamn bastards.
- Goddamn scab sons ofbitches.
All you guys on this injunction,
all 36 of you, remember this it's a court order.
You can't block the traffic,
and don't call 'em scabs.
- Why not?
- 'Cause if you do, you'll be behind bars.
I don't think
you'll never win a strike...
By havin' six people
on the picket line.
There's no way, I mean, that you can
win a strike with six pickets.
So you gotta violate these injunctions.
Lawyers are made to
get you out of trouble after you get in...
Not to get you out of trouble
before you get in.
I'll put it like this
you do what you wanna do.
Women all over the country
are interested in what their husbands are doin'.
They're interested in the safety laws
that the United Mine Workers have...
And they want their husbands
to have their pension funds.
They don't want their husbands
goin'into these scab mines...
with the rock a-fallin'and runnin'
these here motors with no brakes.
So, they want to participate.
They're ready and willing.
The good thing about our club is that now
we're giving them the chance to participate.
You see?
When their husbands goes in the mines,
they're prayin'that they'll get out.
I think that they feel like maybe their prayers
would have been answered sooner...
If they were workin'
under a U.M.W.A. contract.
Well, I went down there
in support of the miners...
For the miners...
And in support of my own children too
that I'm raisin' up.
Now, sit down real easy.
Sit down. Now, it's runnin' over.
- I can't get my foot
- Angie.
- I couldn't get my foot outta here.
- You're messin'.
- When will we be goin' to jail again?
- If the scab starts to cross the picket lines
We went because we was tryin' to protect
The scab was gonna take your daddy's job.
When they sign the contract,
Daddy's gonna have hot running water...
And a big ol' bathtub.
Let's help the striking miners now.
Come, all you coal miners
Wherever you may be
And listen to a story
That I'll relate to thee
My name is nothin' "extree"
But the truth to you I'll tell
I am a coal miner's wife
I'm sure I wish you well
They take your very lifeblood
They take our children's lives
Take fathers away from children
And husbands away from wives
Oh, miner, won't you organize
Wherever you may be
And make this a land of freedom
For workers like you and me
And we have to fight for our rights.
You gonna have to fight for that.
If you have more safety in the mines,
if you get your portal-to-portal pay...
If you have your doctor card
so you can be doctored.
Because if you get disabled
and you don't have any backing...
Then some home will get you...
Or your family will starve.
For, you see, I know what it means.
And this club means a lot
to pull us all together.
Everybody stand together in it...
And everybody goes together...
Everybody go out on the picket line...
And we'll win their contract...
If they'll all stand up.
That's good, Sudie. That's real good.
All the police were lined up
there when we got there.
It was early. We must've got there
at quarter after 5:00, maybe 5:30.
But they were there already.
And by that time all this big crowd
had gathered you know, supporters.
One car went through with three men in it.
They kinda slipped through.
And, uh, the next car that come through,
we were able to get in the road and lay down.
- No work today, fellers.
- Come on, girls. Lay down. Lay down.
Now let's see what kind oflaw
we got in Harlan County...
what kind of state police we got.
Look at them bastards, manhandlin'women.
We didn't give 'em
any resistance whatever.
We just laid down in the road because they
were there to escort those scabs through to work.
And that's been goin'on
for a whole month.
And we'djust come too far for that.
Take pictures, boys.
You're havin' fun, right?
Honey, they gotta stay on that picket line.
They start scabbin' They gotta go back there.
They can't let me down.
Shit, just bring me a gun, for
I- I'd rather be dead...
I- if I have to know
that there's scabs at Brookside.
I can't stand it.
I can't stand the thought of it.
So just don't let 'em, you know
Stay on the picket line
Always on the picket line
I really mean it.
If they'll just keep on the picket line,
we'll we'll
then they'll just beat hell
out of them scabs.
Beat the shit right out of'em.
- That's mine there.
- Which one ain't took?
I don't know, but I got this un.
This top one ain't took yet.
This a double mattress. I'll take this un.
- Hell, I was legally on the picket line.
- I knows he was.
I tried to show 'em in court down there,
and they wouldn't accept a damn thing.
Let's go violate one more time.
Then let 'em put us right back.
'Cause you're a prisoner out there anyway.
You might as well be
Might as well just be in jail.
It is the judgment of the court...
that Bill Doan, George Eldridge,
Lois Scott, Betty Eldridge...
Bessie Cornett and Melba Strong...
Be incarcerated for
a period of 60 days from this date.
Could I say Because I haven't had
a chance to give any testimony today.
I knew we weren't gonna get anyjustice.
You say the laws were made for us.
The laws are not made
for the working people in this country.
There's a person missing here today,
and that's Carl Horn.
The law was made for people
like Carl Horn, not for us.
I knew when I came here,
without offering any testimony or gettin' up...
I knew what I was doin' at Brookside,
because that's what I wanted to do.
For once I was able to take the offensive
instead of coming down here...
To take a step backward
to try and defend what we did.
What we did is right,
and we all know that.
I resent the fact...
That they thatJudge Hogg is a-tryin' me,
and him a coal operator...
And that sittin' beside him
is circuit court clerk Mary Lou Coldarn...
Is sittin' up there,
and her son is up there
He's the photographer up there
takin' the pictures for 'em...
To blacklist the men on the picket line
I resent that.
I resent the fact that he can make a law
that can tell me that I can't go where I please.
He's violatin' my constitutional right.
My name is Norman Yarborough.
On my right is Mr. Logan Patterson...
Who is an attorney who has been retained
by the Eastover Mining Company...
As chief negotiator.
I'd like to ask you what you think...
about the role the miners'wives...
have played in this strike.
Well, they've certainly
played a big role in it.
I would hate to think that my wife
would play this kind of role.
Well, there's been some conduct...
That I don't like to think that our
American women have to
to revert to.
Is it a fact that the Duke Power Company...
maintains housing for its employees
that has no water and no indoor plumbing?
Yes, sir. We were attempting to move our people
And these are our people.
They're my people.
Move our people,
upgrade our people into trailers...
Upgrade our people into better housing...
Better conditions in all directions...
Because they'll make us better people
when we are able to do this.
Larry. Come on to supper.
It's a feudal system, I think.
There's a very rich class of people,
and then there are the coal miners.
And then there are the people
who are on relief.
And that's about it in Harlan.
They wanna keep it this way.
The way they keep it that way
is keepin' a monopoly on the labor market.
They do that by keepin' other competitive
or industries that will be competitive...
You know, for the labor
keep them out.
There are a few little places to work,
but they don't pay nothin' but the minimum wage.
Maybe two dollars an hour.
You can't make a livin' at that no more.
And if it don't go United Mine Workers,
me and him'll have to leave Harlan County.
That's for sure.
Or maybe Kentucky.
We'll have to go
where it's a union state to get a job again.
Duke Power is a Southern,
conservative company.
Less than 10% of their employees
in their power plants...
And their line crews...
Are organized.
And they feel that if we
if they give in to a contract here...
It will encourage union organization
in their home state of North Carolina...
And South Carolina.
They say in North Carolina
Duke Power runs the show
Carl Horn would like
to break the strike
But the miners tell him no
Which side are you on, boys
Which side are you on
Goin'up to New York City
We've got to spread the news
Been fightin'hard for many months
And we're not about to lose
Which side are you on, boys
Which side are you on
- You from the South?
- Can I have one of those? Thank you.
You all look like y'all from
We're gonna let people know...
That if you buy Duke Power stock,
it's risky.
We've had several this mornin'...
said they had Duke Power stock,
but they wouldn't have it long.
They said,
"We're gonna get rid of it."
And that sounded beautiful to me.
- The tunnels here is just like a mine.
- Yeah.
Only ours is about 42 inches high.
I think I think these are more secure
than a mine, sir.
I wouldn't mind going under here,
but your mines
- Yeah. You wouldn't wanna go in the mines?
- No.
They could make good profit off the mines
if they had a union. They won't give us one.
Make good profit, but they
keep it all themselves. Right?
- Yeah.
- They don't spread the wealth.
I thought you guys got paid
a little more than you do.
You don't get paid a bad salary,
but I thought it was a little more.
- We get paid real good, but, you know
- No, it's not.
What's real good?
Five dollars, six dollars an hour?
- Yeah, we
- That's not real good. I make more than that.
- Yeah?
- Sure, I do.
The policeman makes less down there.
- We make about seven.
- God. That's good money.
We draw union strike benefits.
And it's real hard, you know,
to live on a hundred.
Is your job real dangerous, though?
- Look at me.
- I mean
This is all I do.
It's a lot of bullshit.
A lot of people don't understand
that that electricity burnin' over there...
Takes somebody dyin'
every day for it.
There's one man dies every day.
- You probably got medical coverage.
- Free.
Free medical coverage.
I'd save up, buddy, buy a house.
- Kids all get sick, I'd have to spend every penny
- What about dental?
No dental.
- You got dental?
- Dental.
- Goddamn.
- We got dental. We got all kinds of health.
We got drugs.
I could retire at 36.
Half pay 10,000 a year.
They don't want us to ever be able to retire.
- That's bad.
- That's the reason we're here.
That's the reason we're on strike.
Been on strike nine months.
- Nine months?
- Nine months.
- I thought this was the first day.
- No. This is nine months.
- We can't get a They won't sign a contract.
- It's good you came here to bring some publicity.
Yeah. Yeah.
The outstanding issues...
Between Duke Power's coal mining subsidiary...
Eastover Mining Company...
And the United Mine Workers...
in the opinion of
the management of Eastover...
and the management of Duke Power,
its parent, are...
the absence of a no-strike clause
the refusal of the union to agree to not strike
during the life of the contract.
If there are questions on the content
of my report to the stockholders...
I will entertain those questions.
How come you hire gun thugs
to harass us around with?
You sayin'there that the issue is
for a no-strike clause.
Well, if we had a no-strike clause in there...
Norman Yarborough
could kick us off that hill...
And there wouldn't be
a thing we could do about it.
But I tell you,
we in Harlan County...
All of our life
we've been kicked around...
We've been put in jail...
We've been shot at,
we've had dynamite throwed at us...
And then you don't want us
to have nothin'.
Well, I tell you, Mr. Horn...
I'm gonna be standin' right there
on that picket line lookin' at you...
Just as long as it takes.
Thank you.
Coal companies are not
theJ.P. Morgans or the Hannas anymore.
It's Occidental Petroleum...
And Exxon and Sohio.
The oil companies control the coal industry.
Seventy percent of all the domestic coal
reserves are owned by oil companies.
There just can't be any question...
That the health and the safety...
Of our employees...
In the mining industry...
Must be given first priority...
On humanitarian grounds alone.
We find violation
after violation after violation...
In those mines.
We have a national record...
That looks very poor...
When laid up against
the German national record...
The U.K. national record,
the French national record...
The Netherlands national record...
And the others that I've examined.
So I think that I'm not indicting anyone.
If anything, I'm indicting myself.
I'm indicting an agency that I've been
associated with for a long time.
We haven't done all
that we should have in this field.
"Oh, my God, Frankie,"I said,
"The whole midnight shift in the mine blew up.
They're trapped in the mine,
and Pete's in there too."
He left for work, and he acted, well,
just kinda like he didn't want to go to work.
He'd rather stayed home.
He said, "Maybe I should stay home."
I said, "Well, why don't you?"
He went to the door two or three times.
Kept saying, "Should I go,
or should I stay home?
It's spittin' snow out there,
and I just hate to be on the road."
I said, "Stay home, then,
and pretend you're sick tonight."
But he went,
and that was the explosion
I live right almost on the seat
of the main explosion right there.
And they said,
"You get out of your house."
And the police told me to get out.
But you know why?
Because they was notified
to tell me get out.
Because they didn't want me to see what was
goin' on up at that damn, dirty, filthy mines.
I gave up.
I figured we'd never make it out.
Because we just
w- we all passed out.
I don't know, uh, whether...
Any any one man
didn't pass out or not.
I couldn't say that,
'cause I know I did.
When I woke up,
I was like froze to death.
I've worked in the mines
about seven years...
And I've really never been
too scared of the mines.
But I don't think
I'll go back in the mines.
And, uh, the television says...
Uh, if another explosion would occur...
They'd have to seal the mine.
And about 1:00 that explosion came...
And I says, "Uh-oh, they'll seal it."
They sealed 'em.
And then we knew that was
that was it.
You can read it in the paper
And the radio tells
Us to raise our children
To be miners as well
Tell them how safe
The mines are today
And be like Daddy
Bring home a big pay
But don't you believe it, my boy
That story's a lie
Remember the disaster
At the Mannington mine
Where 78 miners were burned alive
'Cause of unsafe conditions
Your daddies died
And I would like to know,
since they died...
Uh, in order to help the living,
find out what caused that explosion.
You know,
you learn from a tragedy.
Then maybe they could help, uh
- Others.
- Uh, others to live.
Then it wouldn't happen again.
But as long as they're greedy...
And as long as they're
rushing the coal miner...
In wanting the production
before lives...
There'll always be tragedies.
I knowed there was somethin' wrong,
but I didn't know what it was.
- And the doctors told me.
- 'Bout 60, don't you guess?
Yeah, 'bout 60.
Somewheres along there.
Well, what would happen to you...
when you started realizing
that something was wrong?
Well, you just couldn't get no breath.
You'd walk a little piece and you'd give out,
just a-pantin' for breath.
And sometimes
you couldn't hardly get it no way.
Lots of times I've had to go
to the hospital down here.
They gave me some shots and things.
I thought I was a goner.
Black lung, black lung
Oh, your hand's icy cold
As you reach for my life
And you torture my soul
Cold as that water hole
down in that dark cave
Where I spent my life's blood
Diggin'my own grave
When you start destroying
the lung tissue...
As occurs in miners who have pneumoconiosis...
And the end result of pneumoconiosis...
There really isn't anything
that you can do to restore the lungs.
They're just simply destroyed.
170 over 100.
Buck, how old a man are you?
- I'm 67.
- You're 67?
You couldn't see your buddy
on the other side of the car for the dust.
We'd be covered just black.
We done make every color when we went in.
You all be look the same when you came out.
- That's right.
- We's all even, huh?
- We's all brothers when we out.
- That's right, when you came out.
The whites looked like the blacks,
so it wasn't any difference.
You knowed you was gettin'
plenty dust.
There are also miners that are working
and who are very symptomatic...
But who don't dare quit...
Unless they can be reassured
that they have sufficient impairment...
That they'll be able to collect
some sort of disability benefits.
It's a kind of negative system...
Because what we do is we really force them to
keep working until they become that disabled.
He went to the boss man
But he closed the door
Well, it seems you're not wanted
- Very good.
When you're sick
And you're poor
You're not even covered
In their medical plans
And your life depends
On the favors of man
We want to do the right thing
about coal workers'pneumoconiosis.
But we think the best informed...
Medical opinion will show you...
That it's not true...
That the inhalation and retention
of coal dust in the lungs...
Necessarily results in any impairment
of pulmonary function...
And that, on the contrary...
Only a relatively small portion
of coal miners...
Who have coal dust
retained in the lungs...
Have any resulting impairment
of pulmonary function...
Much less disability.
This is one of your brother's lungs.
And this is what it looks like at autopsy.
And this is why he died.
That's preventable.
Other countries have done it.
Other countries have made
tremendous strides.
For example, the Australians believe
that they've completely eliminated...
The problem of lung disease
in their coal miners.
Down at the graveyard
The boss man came
With his little bunch offlowers
Dear God
What a shame
Take back those flowers
Don't you sing no sad song
The die has been cast now
A good man is gone
It turns out that 1969 was a year for
an election in the United Mine Workers union.
And with all the dissatisfaction
that was going on...
There was really, for the first time,
I guess, in the union's history...
Open talk of people
opposing Tony Boyle.
Forty years I have to work in a mine...
To get a pension.
A meager pension at that.
And I suppose, when I do quit...
Which will be in two years
because I can't stand it anymore...
I won't be able to get silicosis
because you have to be dead.
I doubt if Tony Boyle's ever knowed
what coal dust is on his hands.
He's sittin' back there in Washington
drawin' a big amount of money.
What for? He don't even know
what the miners goes through.
And to hell with him.
That's the way I feel.
"Boyle's doing nothing for the widows.
"Boyle's doing nothing for the pensioners.
"I'll give you this, I'll give you that.
"I'll give you pie...
"If I can reach high enough
in the sky...
In the sweet by-and-by."
Well, the coal miners in this country...
Are damn sick and tired of having...
A national president of its organization...
That's in bed with the coal operators.
Clarksville, Pennsylvania
Is not too far from here
Coal miners were hopin'
For a brighter new year
- Hi, fellas.
But forJock Yablonski
His daughter and wife
The new year brought an ending
To their precious lives
Well, it's cold-blooded murder, friends
I'm talkin'about
Now who's gonna stand up
And who's gonna fight
You better clean up that union
Put it on solid ground
And get rid of that dirty trash
That keeps the workin'man down
Now we have nine paid holidays.
And I think the one that tops them all
is the holiday for your birthday.
Every miner is given the opportunity...
To work on his birthday...
And he receives triple time
for working on his birthday.
I think that's really something
to be proud of.
And this is the thought
and the idea and the accomplishment...
Of President Boyle.
When they asked, "How many terms do you want?"
You know how many terms I told 'em?
I told 'em. I said, "Just as long
as the Supreme Being up there...
"Gives me the intellect
and the health to carry on...
"And the membership
elect me to office.
That's how many terms I want,
until I'm 180 years of age."
Can you tell us
just where the bodies were found...
and some of the circumstances
surrounding the discovery?
Well, the, uh, daughter was in a bedroom
adjoining the master bedroom.
Mr. and Mrs. Yablonski
were in the master bedroom.
The events in Washington, Pennsylvania...
Show that murder is as institutionalized...
Within the U.M.W.A...
As it is in the mafia.
The order to kill
to kill the whole family, if necessary
was as routinely transmitted
and carried out...
As an order to call a strike
or settle a grievance.
We loved and admired our father.
We respected him.
And my brother and I would like to carry him...
To his final resting place.
But we deem it proper
to do otherwise.
My brother, Joseph, with our cousins
from my mother's family...
will carry our mother...
and I, with our cousins
from my father's family...
will carry our sister, Charlotte.
We entrust our father
to the coal miners whom he loved so much.
O Death
O Death
Please spare me over
for another year
Please spare me over
For another year
The children prayed
The preacher preached
Time and mercy's out of reach
Said Death
"I come to take the soul
"Leave the body
and leave it cold
"Take the skin right off the brain
Earth and worms both have their claim"
O Death
O Death
Please spare me over
for another year
Please spare me over
For another year
In 1969...
There wasn't any reform organization.
This is 1972...
and this is the year
for Miners for Democracy.
Now you can look around...
and see your brothers...
In other districts...
Who are willing to stand
shoulder to shoulder with you...
To throw Boyle and his crowd out...
For once and for all.
I'm proud of the honor ofheading up
a slate of rank-and-file candidates...
for the international offices...
For rank-and-file miners.
We must have a safety program...
that will guarantee our members...
a safe journey to and from the mines...
not one which accepts...
that we must lose
200-300 men every year in mining.
I wanna make it plain that my commitment
is to the rank-and-file miner.
When the ninth of December rolls around
We'll have our election day
And, Boyle, you'd better
sit up and listen
'Cause here's what we're gonna say
Oh, Tony, you been
at the trough too long
Been stealin'all our pay
But Miller is here
and the time is near
There's comin'a reckonin'day
Comin'a reckonin'day
I now pronounce you president
of United Mine Workers of America.
Which office was this?
This was Boyle's old office...
And the other one
was Suzanne Richards's old office.
Neither lives here anymore.
I do sign a 20-cent royalty for
- Peabody.
- Peabody Coal Company.
Tony Boyle.
What'd you say?
Mr. Boyle was giving...
a civil deposition when he was intruded upon...
by three F.B.I. Agents.
I think that's grossly unfair.
Never expected that that was gonna
come through anything like this.
- Why?
- Because I had no forewarning.
What about the charge itself?
Well, as I read the charge
I'm not supposed to say anything.
My lawyer told me not to.
Come on, Tony.
- As you read the charge, what?
- Tony? Tony?
As bad as the killers are
Vealey and Gilly
and whatever they may be
they don't compare
to the people at the top...
who would use
the blood and sweat of miners...
to finance for killing.
Excuse us, please.
Excuse me.
The United Mine Workers today...
Is a labor organization...
Of rank-and-file miners...
Led by rank-and-file miners,
for rank-and-file miners.
And that's the way it oughta be.
I want to introduce
to all of you now
and I expect that most of you
already know her Miss Florence Reese.
I'm not a coal miner,
as you well know...
But I'm as close as I could be
not to be one.
My father was a coal miner
who was killed in the mines...
And my husband is slowly dyin'
with the black lung.
And my husband and me
was in the strike in the '30s...
in bloody Harlan County...
and I do mean it was bloody too.
And they tell me These miners say
we're gonna stick it out...
Unless Duke Power signs a contract,
till hell freezes over.
And the men knows they got nothin'to lose
but their chains...
and their union to gain.
So I say hang in there.
And, uh, now, this song
I composed in the '30s.
As you know, I'm old
that's 40 year ago
and I can't sing very well...
But you can ask the scabs
and the gun thugs which side they're on...
Because they're workers too.
Come, all you poor workers
Good news to you I'll tell
How the good old union
Is coming here to dwell
Which side are you on
Which side are you on
Lf you go to Harlan County
There is no neutral there
You'll either be a union man
Or a thug forJ.H. Blair
Which side are you on
Which side are you on
What about this gun bein'pulled?
Oh, he pulled it right here.
- He had it concealed in a rag.
- And we got his name.
He told me that His boys said if we got
in his way again he would mow us down.
I told him, "I'll see you in federal court
Monday if you say that again, sir.
We're here on peaceful business."
So he put it back in his holster then,
wrapped it back up in a rag...
And got back in his car.
But he did pull the gun and point it.
That's Basil Collins.
That's the gun thug.
He is a known strikebreaker.
That man is a gun thug.
He's the same one
that came up here before.
He had the gun in the car
whenever Red was talkin' to him.
He's a-cruisin'around here now,
goin'up and down...
tryin'to find out who's here.
- Who are you working with, honey?
- What? United Press.
Who do you work with?
Well, you show me your press card.
- It's in the car. Anne, get my press card.
- Show me your press card.
- Okay. What's your name, sir?
- My name's Basil Collins.
- Do you work here?
- Yes, ma'am.
- What's your position here?
- Line foreman.
How do you feel about the people
picketing out here?
I don't have no comment on that.
- And you, sir?
- Same thing.
Where's this press card
you was gonna show me?
- Can I see your identification?
- Ma'am?
- May I see your identification?
- Yes, ma'am, if I had any.
- I'm sorry. I've lost it. All I can do is tell you my name.
- I think I might have misplaced mine too.
- Okay. Okay.
- All right.
He had the nerve enough,
believe it or not, to run for sheriff.
We're not gonna have the violence of the '30s.
The conditions are not the same.
There is probably nothing illegal or immoral...
About the union trying to get...
The best contract they can...
Including the one they have
with everyone else.
On the other hand, the fact that
somebody else has made a contract...
with the United Mine Workers...
Doesn't raise any obligation
on our part, as I see it...
Legally or morally,
to accept that contract...
Any more than we could
go to the union...
And say we want you to accept
the Southern Labor Union contract...
Which we have at two other mines.
Is it as simple as that?
You do not want the major industry
agreement with United Mine Workers.
- That is the 1971 agreement.
- It's that simple.
Yes, sir.
If you want to make it simple.
We'll bug 'em a little bit this mornin',
play with 'em a little bit, see.
- Mister, you're mean.
- I'm not.
- Mean old man. That's what you are.
- That's what they say, don't they?
You can tell 'em different, can't you?
Huh? I'm as gentle as a newborn baby.
Just when it was the first ti
time they went to work.
All of them had guns and pistols.
And it was just
You know, it was really bad up there.
Get the hell out of my way.
Get back in here now.
Hold the rest of'em. Hold everybody.
- Preparin'for a little trouble here.
- There's a gun. Get a picture of that gun.
- Gun.
- Where?
Go on in, boys.
Come on in. Come on.
Come on in.
Go on in, Bobby.
Let's go, boys.
Everybody, let's go.
I'm not happy about it.
We can't hold 'em
We can hold 'em, but we can't hold 'em
with all them guns they got.
They got guns.
We don't got 'em.
They allowed to carry guns and sticks.
We can't have nothing but a knife and a whetrock.
That's right.
We just heard that, uh, Mickey Messer,
president of Brookside Local was, uh
house was shot up last night by...
Some Highsplint employees.
They called his name
to get him to come outside...
And he went out the back door and they
opened up on him with a machine gun.
Right here is one shot.
Up here is a shot.
And then right here is a shot.
I'm sure it was scabs uh, gun thugs
Eastover has hired...
because, uh, there ain't nobody else
who'd want to do anything like that to me.
I've never bothered anybody.
They're shootin' down beside the house,
and we all slipped to the floor.
- Jesus. Honey
- Thugs shooting. Yes.
They shot about 16 times last night.
Knocked me out of bed.
And the kids was all in there cryin'.
Scarin' your baby.
- Makes my blood boil.
- Shh.
If we don't want it
to come back to the '30s...
And bloody Harlan...
And all of this crowd
women and men
can get out on the picket line
two or three times, we've got it made.
If you're afraid to go to sleep
and can't wake up, just stay up all night.
Let's not let it happen
to come back to the '30s
because I was here.
I seed children hungry,
cryin' for somethin' to eat.
And Oh, I I can't take it.
I'll be out
If I get shot, they can't
shoot the union out of me.
Lf you don't want your husbands
To die in a coal mine
I'll see you in the mornin'
out on the picket line
Which side are you on
Which side are you on
We're fighting for a contract
We're fighting to be free
And the picket line is a long line
There's room for you and me
Which side are you on
Which side are you on
We find two or three
sometimes four pickets.
Very rarely are we finding six.
Now, where are all these people
that was raisin'hell...
because they couldn't have 50
on these picket lines?
Now, the understanding
in this local union was...
That strike benefits would be paid...
And every man
would pull his share of picket duty.
- Right or wrong?
- Right.
All right. Then what in the hell's
goin' on around here?
Let me tell you somethin'. When I was on the
picket line, you was in bed and you was in bed.
So don't tell me
And so I know about
- Yeah, but we went tojail
- Oh, you went to jail.
- Who else went to jail? Was you the only one?
- No.
We stayed over there as long as
we could stay without goin' back to jail.
I call for a moment of silence.
She's not done nothin'but cause trouble.
- You know, you make me sick.
- Well, you make me sick too.
...to you and tell you what they tell me
that you're running round with their husbands.
You're trying to take
their husbands away from 'em.
Okay then. They told me
you're an alcoholic and everything else.
I don't care who takes whose man,
who lives with whose man or what they do.
If they can take mine and take him on,
they can have him. I'll shed no tears.
I'm not after a man. I'm after a contract.
I'm raisin' two boys.
I tell you. We can't let our brother down.
We gotta stand on solid ground.
And then we're gonna go through.
If we're gonna start lettin' personal what we
feel about each other personally get in the way...
Then we're not gonna
be able to accomplish anything.
I don't count myself
nothing big in the club.
I don't count myself no bigger
than nobody else.
The rest of'em has more
to do with it than I do...
Because my husband was mashed up
in the mines, retired.
And Eastover just pushed us out.
We was pushed out before
the rent was up and all of that.
It either smashed up their daddies...
Or down with coal dust from that mines.
I went to school to age of school
I've got part of the sixth grade...
Because Daddy got eight dollars
and somethin' a shift.
Nothin' to go to school on.
I had to go in overalls.
And pile out slate for a living
after I growed up.
Coal out of it and sell it.
Walk off of that mountain
from that mines to school.
And they're all barned up there,
not even allowed in it.
I've got Mom's coal oil lamps. I've got her
stove irons a-sittin' there for 'em to look at.
And walkin' to school and back.
And I know everybody's disappointed
we don't have a bigger crowd...
And we're disappointed that more people
haven't come in, but when you get down to it...
In this fight, and like in any other fight,
you gotta depend on yourselves.
Nobody in the end's gonna do it for you.
The union's gonna back you,
and we're gonna do all we can...
but you gotta win this fight yourselves.
Now, it's the first time East Kentucky has stood
up against the coal operators, and you're doin' it.
And when you win, you're fighting
for your kids and your grandkids.
Every one of them will have a better life
because of what you're doin' here.
And that's why the fight's so hard.
If there wasn't so much at stake,
they wouldn't be fightin' you this hard.
They wouldn't shoot into your homes
if there wasn't so much at stake.
And if there are not enough on the picket line,
then when you come to the picket line...
On the way, stop by
and pick someone up and knock on his door...
And ask him to come along with ya.
- Bob, are you gonna be there?
- Where?
- At the picket line at Highsplint in the mornin'.
- Yeah.
I don't know what y'all
are goin'up to do except for
The thugs that's sittin' there
in the highway with guns in their hands.
We can't do nothin'
except get up there and whittle.
How do you feel about it, Tommy?
How do you feel about us comin' up there?
I don't want to go up there against their will.
I want to be welcomed, but, uh
Welcomed? We've been expecting
you forever to come. Come.
Now, we've got a new president.
Sudie Crusenberry is our new president.
So let's give her a hand.
And we've got two treasurers
DorothyJohnson and Mary Lou Fergerson.
So let's give them
I I really I'm just really tickled...
that we've got this many people out,
you know, today, and all of us out.
And I think if one thing,
it's helped us.
'Cause last week we had such a struggle.
But I think
that what's come out of it is good.
Come on.
- And it's loaded?
- Yeah.
You shouldn't carry it with you like that.
It's got a safety on it. And if it did,
it wouldn't shoot nothin' but my titty off.
And I might lose that one anyway.
As long as I got another one.
- I want you to meet Anita, Lois.
- Oh.
Tellin' 'em I started out with a switch
on that picket line...
But I'm ended up now carrying a gun.
I mean, all the time too.
Hell, you I have to, you know Especially
since what's happening up there at Highsplint.
And knowin' 'em and seein' 'em.
Seeing the machine guns and all.
It's time to
Well, you'd be crazy not to carry a gun now.
You would, really.
Well, all right. Uh, are we gonna
Are y'all gonna be back at 6:00?
Don't shoot.
Watch out. Coming back across the bridge.
He shot right at me.
You get away from me. Huh?
Fuckin'- A.
Take 'em back over there
and take your pants off, Basil.
All right, men.
Let's Let's break it up now.
Clear the bridge.
Let these people leave.
You know that nigger?
That "nigger"
is a better man than you'll ever be.
He's a better man than you'll ever be.
Three or four of'em,
damned old gun thugs...
get on him and start kicking a woman
and hitting a woman and then
and then another one come over
and start beatin' a man...
And and gettin'
four or five of them on him...
And then see, uh
uh, Basil Collins holding a gun...
And and calling a a a union man
that believes in union man
said, "I want you to get that nigger.
You hear that nigger? Get that nigger."
I'm sick of it.
I'm sick of it.
And it's it's time for us, uh,
to to stand together...
And and get just as violent as they are.
- I agree.
- Right.
They're violent, so, by God,
you fight fire with fire.
It seemed like they were
pretty well organized to me this morning...
and we're gonna have to get
a little tighter organized.
We're gonna get together.
The women are gonna get together...
and be responsible
for 10 women each...
- or 10 people out there each at 4:00.
- Okay.
If you women gonna bring 10 each...
Then, uh, the men
ought to be able to say...
"Well, we'll bring five
or we'll bring 10 or we'll bring 15."
And that would be workin' together.
You're gonna have to get some more
black people out, too, 'cause you look odd
I am odd.
They want us to sit by
and watch 'em shoot...
And not us shoot back.
And the police is not gonna do nothin'
about it either. They're for them.
No. We know that.
Just fight back.
Just attack hell out of them
and not run.
Let your conscience be you gu
I never run.
I I had one.
One's all I could handle.
But I got him.
He didn't come no farther.
If there's enough of us up there,
and we can get one
if each one of us can get one,
hell, we can do it.
Men, women and children all.
It's time to stand up and be counted.
Don't you gonna be
throwed back for 500 years.
We're gonna have a picket line
in the morning.
And we hope to have a big picket line.
It's gonna be set up a little bit
different than the last one.
'Cause We can't have a picket line at the bridge
with a.30-caliber machine gun shooting at you.
These ladies are setting it up.
We're gonna have to get out there
and back them. That's all there are to it.
They come up to back us, and we're not even
backing them. It's pretty disgusting.
So we'd like to see
We know about who ain't been there.
We'd like to see you out there
once in a while.
- Has anybody got any questions?
- Bob.
Most of'em are afraid to come up.
Hell, I'm afraid too,
but I go up there.
Looked pretty shaky up there this mornin'.
We got some good uns though.
- Anything anybody want to bring up?
- Can I talk?
Come on up here.
You sure can.
Uh, if there's anybody in here
that can't or is not with us...
And can't go with us in the morning...
I'd rather for 'em to leave
before that I finish this...
Because I do want to know...
If we're gonna have these people here
or if we can depend on 'em or what.
Because if we can't,
we're not a-gonna go up there no more...
And have those machine guns
shot at us and have the
the gun thugs a-comin' across
and attacking us.
We're not a-gonna do that.
Now, we're with ya...
And we'll stick with ya.
All these women
We got a whole gang of'em...
That says they'll go
with 'em tomorrow...
And we're gonna be
at Mac's in the morning at 5:00.
Now, they're not
We're not a-gonna go any earlier than that...
Because if we do,
we're just sitting ducks for them.
And they'll wait for us.
And we're not a-gonna tell you where we're
gonna set up the picket line until in the morning.
If you want to know where
the picket line's gonna be set up...
You'll be at Mac's
in the morning at 5:00.
We need every man and woman.
There's enough Brookside pickets
and Highsplint pickets...
And women
that those scabs wouldn't mean a thing...
If we get all of'em up there.
But we're not a-gonna do it
layin' in bed.
Think they're gonna shoot at us today?
Shot at us yesterday.
- What about today?
- I don't know.
- You scared?
- I hope not. Yeah.
Ain't you?
I just hope nobody gets hurt.
I don't believe We'd have seen 'em go.
We've got people out on that.
You let them bastard scabs come.
We got our guns now.
- Then they work two shifts.
- Nah. They ain't gonna do nothin'dirty like that.
- Gotta get it right at the railroad.
- Bring it over here a little bit.
Basil Collins. Right in front.
Well, what's he doing?
We shall not be
We shall not be moved
We shall
We shall not be moved
Just like a tree
that's standing by the water
We shall not be moved
Come on, Basil.
We got somethin' for you.
Are we gonna start
like we did yesterday?
We wasn't blocking the road. They was.
They've had it blocked all day.
You You put the car there, so either remove it,
or I'll call the wrecker to remove it.
That's neutral, ain't it?
That's neutral. No, it's not neutral.
And you know it's not neutral.
It's not neutral.
You know what it is. I'll tell you.
You know what I told you.
I don't give a damn how much money you makin'
at bein' a sheriff, but don't go against the union.
That's all I ask.
That's the only thing I ask.
Baby, you can stand here and raise hell
all you want to, but this road's gotta be cleared.
Will you go up there when
they shoot machine guns across the highway?
- No. He won't. No. He won't.
- Will you go up then? 'Cause that's your duty too.
- No, he won't do it. He won't.
- Why don't you go up there then? You weren't up there yesterday.
When they beat us and club us. And when
they beat that 17-year-old boy He won't.
I mean, I see. You know what,
Billy G., that was told to me...
And I wouldn't believe it
before the election.
That was told to me that you'd do this.
It really was.
Excuse me. Mr. Williams.
I have a warrant for Basil Collins.
We want you to throw Basil's ass in jail.
Don't stand there.
You've got a warrant for him.
- Now serve it to him.
- Will you give me
- You won't do it.
- Will you give me a chance to do my job?
- Okay. Let's see you do it.
- All right.
Somebody pay me seven dollars
for the fee of arrest.
Here's your seven dollars.
How much more do you want?
Hell, you can have it all.
By God, we'll get you up a hundred dollars.
Go arrest him.
- Look. Okay.
- And take him tojail.
I'm gonna do my job,
and this happens to be part of my job.
- Yeah, he's got it. He's got it.
- Okay. Now let's see it.
- For that
- He'll be arrested, but this car's gotta move on.
- Get him right now
- You arrest him.
You You
Here I go to, ladies.
Glory, glory, hallelujah
- What?
- You're under arrest.
- Under arrest for what?
- Oh, disorderly conduct, I guess. I don't know.
Flashin' a deadly weapon.
Once again, that's part of my job.
- Movin' this car's part of my job also.
- That's part of your job.
I'll be in pretty quick.
Soon as we get this thing moved...
- And get my men to work, I'll come into town.
- Yeah.
I'm gonna see that she's moved,
then we're goin' to town.
All right.
Move these people
away from my truck, Bill.
- Move back from his truck.
- Get away from my truck.
Move back from the truck.
Now let's move the car
No. You arrest him, Billy.
You come and get us. You get him out of
the truck, put him in your car and take him
This is not a one-sided thing, Lois.
Now, I'm gonna take him to town...
But I'm also movin' that car.
You're letting him drive himself to town
after he gets up there. That's what you're doin'.
- What's the difference?
- Oh, no. There's a lot of difference.
There's a lot of difference.
I tell you one thing.
If they got a warrant for us,
you would come and take us to jail.
Lois, you're taking things
in your own hands. You're
- I'm not taking things in my own hands.
- You're thinking one way and no other way.
Oh, no Well, how how other way
are there to think, Billy?
Whenever you get shot at with machine guns
They shot at us with machine guns.
How many of your men
have I up and hauled off tojail?
This is the first time you've come out.
I will say that. But this has shocked me.
This has absolutely shocked me to death.
So be it. You're down here
on a public highway now.
You're not up there at the picket line.
You're not at Brookside on the picket line.
- You're here in the middle
- We can't stand up there. They're shooting machine guns at us.
Well, they can also transfer 'em down here
if they're gonna kill you. You know that.
Yeah, but, see, we've got
a better chance down here.
- Well, nevertheless, that car has got to go.
We shall not be moved
We stood by the sheriff
We shall not be moved
Just like a tree
that's standing by the water
We shall not be moved
We shall not be
We shall not be moved
We shall not be
We shall not be moved
Just like a tree standing by the water
We shall not be moved
Glory, hallelujah, we shall not be moved
Glory, hallelujah
We shall not be moved
Well, over on the mountaintop
Children, we're gonna let it shine
Oh, on the mountaintop
I said we're gonna let it shine
On the mountaintop
We gonna let it shine
Let it shine
Let it shine
Let it shine
Well, we're gonna try to get 'em organized
and give these brothers a little help.
I think it's a great day.
It really re joices me.
I'm gonna let it shine
Let it shine
Let it shine
Let it shine
All the way. All the way.
- All the way.
- Join the march.
Come on andjoin the march.
We're Harlan County union...
from the top of our head
to the sole of our foot.
Do you think that the company has
any possibility ofbreaking this strike?
Well, at this particular time
I don't think so.
The, uh, show of strength on the part
of our membership here...
And the general, uh, public awareness
in East Kentucky indicates to me...
That it isn't gonna be easy,
but we're gonna be successful.
Do you have any idea how long this
may go, and are you prepared to
It's pretty hard to say how long it's gonna go,
but we're here to stay, as I said earlier.
Yeah, but my name is Sam
I'm a shuttle-car driving man
Said my name is Sam
I'm a shuttle-car driving man
With my six big wheels a-rollin'
At 14 cent a load
A never-ending battle
I keep on rollin'
Well, this may not be
a very big part I play
But I'm gonna
work hard at it every day
So let's come out for the union
And I'll keep a-doin'my dirty work
on the ground
Yeah, but my name is Sam
I'm a shuttle-car driving man
Said my name is Sam
I'm a shuttle-car driving man
With six big wheels a-rollin'
at 14 cent a load
A never-ending battle
I keeps on rollin'
I don't know of any time
in coal mine history...
When, uh...
The president and principal officers...
Of the international union have come
to the coalfields during an organizing.
The battle.
It's most gratifying to me to see...
Busloads in here
from Indiana and Illinois.
I think if I were a Brookside striker,
I think that that would mean something to me.
To bring people hundreds of miles...
tojust march around town
and listen to a couple speeches...
don't make too much sense to me.
That, uh Although it generated
a lot of enthusiasm and fortified
you know, maybe strengthens
people's morale here...
A lot more could have been done
when they came here.
That we could have, for example,
marched down to Brookside...
And confronted Yarborough
Who was sittin' at
the Brookside office during the day.
Uh, we could have gone to Highsplint
and expropriated their machine guns.
And the miners here, I'm convinced,
were ready to do something like that.
After that contract's a-signed...
It's gonna be better on everybody.
Let's show Norman Yarborough
he don't run Harlan County.
Let's show Judge Hogg
he don't run Harlan County.
And if you people don't get out here and help us
out, we ain't gonna get nothin' that's right.
We want you down there at 5:00.
That's a sunrise revival at Brookside, Kentucky.
We don't know
what caused the shooting or nothing...
but we can figure it was just a disagreement
for the mine workers.
He was shot in the face.
We helped bring him over here.
- What happened?
- Got shot in the damn head.
- Shot in the face with a shotgun.
- Who shot him?
A goddamn scab.
Bill Bruner.
That's brain that's laying there.
A goddamn fella when he tried to do somethin'.
That's what a scab does to a person,
by God, when they're not lookin'.
See, the pissants carrying off
a goddamn man's brain...
While he's layin' over in the hospital dying.
Maybe shot all to hell.
- You friends ofhis?
- I'm always tellin' him
He got dea
shot in the goddamn head by a
Yeah. My son's a-fightin' for it,
and that's what he got shot over.
- You got two sons fighting.
- Yeah.
My My other son too.
He pickets at Highsplint.
How long have you been married?
Almost a year.
- How old are you?
- Sixteen.
- Do you have any children?
- One.
Are you proud of your husband?
What made him decide
to go on the picket line?
The union, I guess.
Yeah. He's a union man. That's why.
I I want my kids all to be union.
I don't want 'em to be a yellowback scab.
I don't want 'em to be
kicked around like at the
like we was when we was kids.
And my daddy He worked all his life
and didn't get a thing before he died.
Worked all his life in the coal mines,
and we never did see him either.
Till we was asleep in the bed. Mom would give us
what we had to eat, and we'd go to bed.
He'd eat when he come.
He'd be gone when we got out of bed.
Then whenever he got too old to work
in the mines, they just kicked him out to die.
They didn't care.
'Cause there wasn't no union then.
And I don't want my kids
to be like that.
I want my kids to stick up
for their rights and be a union... man.
Well, next time somebody gets up in our
meetin' and says let's have nonviolence...
And don't bother them,
let's kick their goddamn ass.
The women get up there,
and they park their car across the road...
And they gets to say what they think,
and we hide behind the goddamn car.
- Don't use no violence
- I'll be honest with you.
I done got enough goddamn
shotgun blasts in my goddamn face.
Nonviolence. We don't have no violence.
We stand back there, and we don't say
a goddamn thing. We don't even do nothin'.
Most of you were
real close friends with LawrenceJones.
He left a 16-year-old wife
and a five- month-old daughter.
But I think at this time that
we should at least wait till the morning...
and not let things get out of hand.
I've just talked to Chip Yablonski
and Rick Banks...
and they've asked me to tell you...
that the company
and the union is talkin'...
and that they're close.
Looks to me like the best part...
is to be try to get old Yarborough
and old Basil Collins.
Now, them's the leaders, boys.
Them's the leaders...
And they're somewhere
they can be got.
There's plenty of big trees down there...
And there's plenty of high-powered rifles.
I went in 'em back in the '30s.
I knowed it exactly.
I've seen 'em, buddy
I've seen 'em carryin' puttin' down with this.
And I've seed men
get it right out in the open.
So I tell everybody. Take to shelter
if you can and lay the lead to 'em.
Amen, brother.
The contract is what we are fightin' for.
That's what LawrenceJones died for.
To get a contract.
But I told his family
I said, "It was for a good cause. "
And what I said
"Why couldn't it be somebody like me?
Some old man just about spent anyhow."
But it took a young man's life...
To bring this thing
the government and the union
and the operators together.
If this shootin'
hadn't have happened, probably...
This contract they wouldn't probably
might not have been a meetin'...
To negotiate a contract.
But every contract that we've ever got...
Has been hard.
We've had to fight for it.
I've been all around the blood...
Shed back here in the '30s.
Blood all around me.
Where men died right around my feet.
For a contract.
And I think,
if we ever did hold our peace...
Let's try to hold it tonight.
The price has been paid for it.
Leave behind
Yes, leave behind
What will I leave behind
After I leave
For worlds unknown
What will I leave behind
Oh, God.
Oh, God. Oh.
Oh, God.
I can't
Oh, God, I can't stand it.
Oh, God, I can't
Needs to come up
the riverjust a little bit, don't it?
When you believe in something
strong enough that you're ready to die for it...
that's when you get it.
Because that's what happened
to LawrenceJones.
He believed in it so strong,
and he was ready to die for it, and he did.
But it could have been me. It could have been
anybody that was out there on the picket line.
I feel like that this is just a little pebble
on the beach.
Because we've got
a lot of organizing to do in Harlan County.
'Cause Harlan County will be
U.M. W.A. Coal.
I guess that, uh, I'd have to say that...
As much as we fought down here...
And as hard as we fought...
I don't think if it was for...
That young boy LawrenceJones,
I doubt if we...
Would have got a contract
as fast as we did.
Uh, I'd like to ask to pass a motion
that we accept this contract.
- Somebody
- I second it.
Somebody, uh, make the motion.
- I make the motion.
- I second.
All Brookside miners
stand for a count.
All right.
- Tell 'em to sit down.
- Sit down. Everybody sit down.
The ayes have it, and so ordered.
The ayes have it,
and so ordered.
- The contract's accepted.
- The contract's accepted.
The only thing I hate about this
On On account of that boy getting killed...
You know, and it all having to come to
Of course, you expected that. I really expected
more, you know, than that to happen...
And probably would have if it had gone on,
you know, this week and next week.
That's right.
We all knew that it was comin'...
But we didn't know who or when.
Do you feel you've been changed by the strike?
- Oh, yes.
- How so?
Many different ways.
I can look for a future now.
I feel good about it.
It's just great. Marvelous.
After 13 months, waitin' to see,
you know, him go back to work.
Boy. It's been a long time.
I wish that I wouldn't go up there,
but I did.
I wouldn't go, but when I see him go,
his fight's my fight...
so I want to stand beside of him
and fight too.
If this had just been a Harlan County strike...
And there hadn't been publicity...
Hadn't been a fight against their rate increase...
Hadn't been a fight against their stock...
Duke Power wouldn't have given a damn
about any of the pressure down here...
'Cause, uh, all we had was their coal...
And we never had shut off enough of that
to hurt their stockpiles up until the end.
And the same thing with Lawrence.
They never would have cared
if LawrenceJones died in Harlan.
It would have been a two-inch paragraph
in the Harlan Daily Enterprise...
and Carl Horn wouldn't have
given a goddamn about it.
And so I don't think
a strike is won by any one thing.
It was won by a lot of different people
in a lot of different ways...
Fighting together
and playing different roles.
Victory. Harlan County.
The other thing we're trying to do...
is investigate how the fix
was put in here in Harlan.
- What fix?
- Well, it's pretty clear...
That when a man commits murder
and the state police charges him...
And witnesses say that he, uh,
fired on the man unprovoked...
That a grand jury is duty-bound
to indict him.
But this grand jury was Harlan County...
And it seemed like,
despite the fact we had won a contract...
Not that much had changed here.
It was just like in the old days.
If the company kills a man,
the company gets let off.
If one of our people had shot
any company man throughout this strike...
He'd be servin' 25 years now.
Bill Bruner is scot-free.
Once a concession is won...
And once a strike is won,
that the workers have to move right on...
To the next struggle.
And if they don't, the concession
that was won, you're gonna lose it.
So there's two types of ways
to win strikes and concessions.
And the first type is
where the workers fight and struggle...
and force the concessions...
out of the mine owners
or factory owners or who have ya.
And, uh, these strikes are strikes
that are won from below.
The other type of strike is strikes
that are given to you from above.
Whenever anybody gives you something,
they don't give you nothin'for nothin'.
To get something and be given it...
you're gonna have to give up something.
The B.C.O.A. member companies...
Are to be expected to provide...
Substantially higher levels of wages and benefits.
It is essential
be necessary for the bargaining
parties to give serious consideration...
To contract provisions
which will contribute significantly...
To increased production and productivity.
The membership of our union no longer
was willing to accept two dollars more a day...
And a bar of soap
and a towel and a bathhouse.
The areas The main areas of concern
to our membership
It's been well established and should be
recognized by everyone in this country.
Particularly the coal operators.
Safety is our highest priority.
The men's asking for
more than they did before.
And they're gonna get it.
They either get it,
or there won't be no coal.
The strike.
They've been looking forward to this.
This is a big thing for the miner.
He will better his lot after today...
Because when Miller took office...
He said that he was going to
get the miner what he was entitled to.
Okay. The supply track.
They're starting now from the work area...
and they're coming to
what we call the manway.
They'll be coming up the cage.
In another, uh,
32 minutes they'll all be out.
God willing.
Well, I think that, uh, ratification's great.
We have something to say about it.
Retire Retirement.
Want vacation.
- Yeah. Better Better vacation.
- Sick pay.
It'll never be ratified for something
that's not at least a $15-a-day increase.
- You've been through this before.
- Many a time.
- Six months one time.
- Are you afraid of going out on strike?
No, I'm not afraid.
I don't want to see no strike. Naturally.
No miner wants a strike.
But no contract, no work.
And if it's not
A good one, we get to ratify it.
It would never have gone the way it has
if we'd have been able to vote before.
Just like, uh, Boyle.
He didn't We didn't vote.
He says, "Oh, this is what they'll take." So that's
what we had to take is what they'd give us.
Now we're gonna take what we want.
Even those who criticize it acknowledge...
That it's probably the best agreement...
Uh, that's been made in any industry
in modern times.
Mr. Miller, do you expect to recommend
ratification of this contract to the membership?
I will recommend ratification
of this contract to the membership.
- Sir?
- Will you have a right to strike at the local level?
Do you anticipate that will cause
you trouble in ratification, since that's one
No. I'm sure there are some divergent views
among the membership, and...
I never expected 100% ratification,
but I'm confident the membership will ratify.
You can't take the right to strike away.
If you go through the proper
grievance procedure and it doesn't work...
You have only got one right left:
The right to strike.
And if you take that away from a man,
you've had it.
- It's not in the agreement.
- But it's not ruled out yet.
- I'd like to have it.
- Well, I would like I can't speak for everyone.
Let me step out here
and talk to you privately about it.
The international's gone and changed...
the whole ratification process
without giving any reason for it.
They're trying to keep us apart. He could
be getting pressure from the government.
He could be getting pressure
from the companies. It's hard to say.
We don't know. That's what the problem is.
We don't know, and we're not being told.
Everybody was under the impression, when Miller
was elected, that he was the man for the job.
- Everybody
- Well, he acted. He acted like he was.
He's an honest man, but he's no match
for them bunch of clowns, because that is theirjob.
- He's honest.
- He didn't try.
Coal companies don't need
to tell you they can't afford this...
because they're owned by the oil companies
and the power companies.
And who has more money in the world
than those people?
- They can afford everything.
- That's why we're out here.
I'll tell you what. The company kept the apple.
They throwed us the core.
That's what they did.
You look at these coal companies.
You look at Consolidated Coal
181 goddamn percent profit.
You look at Piston:886.
And they're bitchin' about their giving us
a goddamn five more days vacation.
This is unprecedented, isn't it, Mr. Secretary...
for a secretary of the treasury
to step in like this?
I don't think it's, uh, unprecedented. No.
I think this is a very serious, uh, issue
in the economic area in our country.
A prolonged coal strike would have...
Very serious economic implications.
So as the chief economic spokesman...
I consider this my very deep responsibility to
attempt to work toward a resolution of this issue.
What is your reaction to the government
stepping in at this time?
Well, I hope that we can
resolve the matter ourself, but
That's, uh, the way I feel about it.
Some of this contract
It's got some good in it.
But most of this contract is against you.
What contract?
- As far as I As far as I can see, this
- A funny book.
This, uh This is no contract at all.
- Take it and read it and shut up.
- That's what I did with the last one.
You work three years in Wheeling Steel,
you can get 13 weeks.
Bill, you're not working at Wheeling Steel.
You're working in a coal mine.
I ain't workin' in a hole all the time.
I have to work down in the hole too...
- and I deserve just as much as he gets.
- That's right.
What about your high cost of living?
What about your sick leave?
Five goddamn days.
- You been off sick?
- I can't afford to get sick.
I have to spend all my money the money
going to doctors and getting doctor slips.
They got the cost-of-living index set up
for people making two and three dollars an hour...
Where we should be on a.3 or a.25
instead of a.4.
- That's right.
- It's a joke.
- A lot of yeses, boys. I'm telling you.
- Yes, sir.
104, 105, 106, 107.
The 1974
Bituminous COA's agreement...
Has been ratified by the membership
of the United Mine Workers.
The, uh, figures for
those voting for...
Is 44,754...
And 34,741 voting against.
I think that we have a great contract.
I think our people will adapt theirselves to it.
They will be more familiar with it
as they work along with it.
And it's, uh, my hope that, uh...
We can now get on with the job...
Of, uh, running this union...
And, uh, doing
the kind of organizing job...
That will make the United Mine Workers
number one in the country again.
I'm directing the membership of our
United Mine Workers organization
labor organization
back to work.
- I'm glad to get back.
- You feel you got a good contract?
Uh Oh, I felt mine's all right.
Uh, I got a good raise.
I'm happy about it.
I'm not too worried.
How do you feel about going back to work?
Well, going to work I don't feel like
working anytime, but I have to go.
Do you feel you got a good contract?
Well, not for us old-timers,
we don't have a good contract.
- Why not?
- Well, we ain't gonna get too much benefit.
You take, uh, three years ago the coal miners
were supposed to be getting $50 a day.
Three. Within six years 1976
I still won't be getting $50 a day
with this new raise in there.
And the papers had to be forged
three years ago...
That they'd start up $50.
But now, after six years,
I still won't be making $50.
When are you gonna be able to retire?
Well, I'm old enough to retire now...
But I couldn't live off $150 a month.
So I gotta go to work.
- Okay. Have a safe day.
- I'm gonna try.
It was a fight before and it's still a fight.
Fight before we had the union
and still fightin'.
And they're gonna keep fightin'.
Coal miner will always be fightin'.
United we stand, divided we fall
For every dime they give us
a battle must be fought
So working people, use your power
the key to liberty
Don't support
that rich man's style ofluxury
There ain't no way they can ever keep us down
Oh, no
Ain't no way they can ever keep us down
We won't be bought, we won't be sold
To be treated right, well, that's our goal
And there ain't no way
They can ever keep us down
But you have got them goin' now,
and you're gonna keep 'em goin'.
If you don't, God bless America,
you're down.
Join the struggle. Fight to strike.
Join the struggle.
Fight to strike.
That we get a grievance procedure
that has the right to strike in it...
So that we can fight the companies
and win our grievances.
We've been shot and we've been jailed
Lord, it's a sin
When mom and little children
Stood right by the men
But we got that union contract
That keeps the worker free
And they'll never shoot that union out of me
And they'll never shoot that union out of me
Oh, no
Never shoot that union out of me
Got a contract in our hand
Signed by the blood
ofhonest men
And they'll never
shoot that union out of me
But if you get those junctions lifted
you get those junctions dropped
automatically you got the right to strike.
Well, the power wheel is rolling, rolling
Right along
And the government helps keep it goin'
So working people
get your help
From your own kind
Your welfare ain't on
that rich man's mind
Your welfare ain't on that rich man's mind
Oh, no
Your welfare ain't on
that rich man's mind
They want the power
in their hands
Just to keep down the worker and
Your welfare ain't on that rich man's mind
And they'll
never, never, never keep us down
Oh, no
Never, never, never keep us down
They can cheat, lie, frame or steal
But we'll stop that big wheel
And they'll never, never, never
keep us down