Jan 16, 2006
International Coal Group, headed by Wilbur Ross, owns the Sago mine. The deal was completed a few weeks before the deaths of the twelve miners. During these weeks, there were three major cave-ins, three citations for serious violations of roof controls and six other serious safety violations.
Ross specializes in buying up bankrupt companies, attacking the pay and benefits of workers and retirees. When Ross’s International Coal Group bought mines in Kentucky, it closed six union mines and kept the non-union mines open. He made sure that retirees were stripped of their health benefits before completing the purchase.
Ross put together the International Steel Group, acting in the same fashion. He bought up five steel companies, including Bethlehem, LTV and Weirton, after massive layoffs, pay cuts, the elimination of pensions and the ending of health care for 150,000 retirees and widows. Ross then sold the International Steel Group, clearing a profit of 300 million dollars for himself.
Ross did the same thing with his International Textile Group, buying the giant Burlington Industries and Cone Mills. He imposed union concessions, laid off thousands and dumped the pensions onto the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation.
The Sago mine disaster that killed 12 miners is not an accident. It is a consequence of all the attacks that have been carried out against the workers.