The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Who Is Stealing Miners’ Jobs?

Feb 1, 2016

President Obama just announced an end to leasing federal lands to coal operators.

The coal industry immediately said Obama was trying to kill the coal industry and destroy employment.

In fact, it is the coal bosses who have destroyed employment in the industry and have been doing so for 60 years. The largest decline in mining employment came in 1982, with a 25% drop.

Current employment figures are disputed, with mine owners and the mine workers’ union giving different numbers. But they agree there are fewer miners than ever before–only about one sixth of the workers in 1947. But in 2008, coal production was the highest it had ever been, almost double what it had been in 1947, its previous high.

In other words, just like in steel and auto, the bosses have a policy of decreasing employment while increasing production. In steel and auto they blamed foreign manufacturers; in coal they blame government policies. But either way, they choose to lay off while pushing for ever more production.