Since October 2003, 74 workers at the Co-Op mine in Huntington, Utah have been on an unfair labor practice strike. The workers were illegally fired from their jobs after they protested the suspension of a coworker for union activity and for protesting unsafe job conditions. Co-Op workers, mostly Mexican immigrants, are paid only $5.25-$7/hour . Other miners working in the same canyon earn $18. The miners have no health insurance and work in dangerous conditions which have led to many injuries and three deaths since 1996.
The mine is owned by the wealthy and powerful Kingston clan (also known as "The Order"). The Kingstons, own about 160 businesses throughout Utah, including pawn shops, payday loan outfits, food markets, and a garbage company.
In 1979, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recognized the International Association of United Workers Union as the sole bargaining agent for the Co-Op mine workers. Since then, this so-called union has been owned, operated, and controlled by the powerful Kingston family. The union holds no meetings and its officers are not elected - they are appointed by, and are members, of the Kingston clan.
Despite evidence indicating that the Co-Op miners want representation with the United Mine Workers Association (UMWA) and that the company union is a farce, the Regional NLRB has refused to make a decision, keeping the workers in limbo for months.
The Co-Op miners have gotten support from people across Utah and around the country. In December and in February, they organized buses to rally at the mine where they were joined by miners from neighboring states. More recently, 50 people picketed at the East Side Market Food Market, a Kingston-owned store where clan members buy their food with special scrip.
Two striking miners will be visiting Portland, Wednesday June 9th.
We encourage you to attend an public meeting at the IWW hall, 616 E. Burnside, between 2 and 4 PM.
A collection for Strike Support will be taken, so please pool money from your union, workplace or organization.
This tour is being coordinated by Rank and File ILWU and IWW members.