Today, the UMW represents 105,000 active and retired coal miners, as well as manufacturing workers, public safety workers, municipal workers and health-care workers in the United States and Canada.
Earlier this year, a researcher at Stanford University Law School published a study showing death and injury rates are significantly lower at mines where the UMW represents working miners.
Alison D. Morantz said that her study -- titled "Coal Mine Safety: Do Unions Make a Difference?" -- used more comprehensive data than previous studies comparing safety in union and non-union underground mines. The study focused on the years between 1993 and 2010.
Morantz found unionization leads to "a substantial and significant decline in traumatic injuries and fatalities."
The study concludes union representation led to a drop of between 13 percent and 30 percent in major injuries during those years and a drop of between 28 percent and 83 percent in mining deaths.
Morantz said she also believes accident reporting procedures might be more rigorous and accurate in most union mines.
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.