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Newspaper Page Text
SATURDAY, NOV. 27th, 1920.
THE TOILER PAGE 3 pnly by Pennsylvania. Its coal is of the highest grade bituninous with very little sulphur and practically no ash present. It is the most desir able industrial fuel produced in the country. It is also the cheapest. Apart from labor, very lit tle expense is encountered in mining it. No shafts need to be drilled as in Illinois and other coal producing states. Statistics show that there is more potential bituminous coal tonnage in the state of West Virginia than anywhere in the country. Controlled By Big Corporations. The control of this most productive coal field rests in the hands of the following corpora tions, the United States Steel Corporation, the Pennsylvania Rairoad Co., through various smal ler railroads and subsidiary operators, the Balti more and Ohio Railroad Co., and the West Va. and Maryland Railroad Co. The United States Steel oCrporation's antip athy to unionism is well known and needs no further comment. It owns or controls, through its The blinded giant. subsidiary companies, some 300.000 acres of the finest surface coal in West Virginia and the ad joining states into which the Pocahontas coal fields extend. Unionism there is equivalent to discharge, and an organizer preaching the gospel of "get together" takes his life in his hands when he enters the region, and gives up all hope of coming out alive. Besides the above controlling interest there are numerous small operators. But if these in dependent operators were to give in to the de mands of the unionized miners, they would be Crushed by the larger powerful monopolies. The railroads would not move their coal. They would be plunged into financial ruin by the pirates controlling the larger corporations. West Virginia is the powerful reserve of the Capitalism that depends on bitiminous coal for its fuel. During the winter of 1919 1920 when the United Mine Workers declared a general strike and made the strike effective in the regions where they held control, the coal mined in West Virginia was sent into the regions formerly supplied by the union miners and was effective in breaking the strike. Nor was this the first instance where the coal of West Virginia was used to break a strike of coal miners. An Old Battle Ground. The operators first awoke to the boundless possibilities of coal mined there during the famous "suspensions" of work called by the United Mine Workers in 1894. These suspensions were origin ally called for two weeks, so that the stored coal on hand could be used in industry and the result ant demand for it cause a rise in wages for the workers. The "suspension" of two weeks, because of the influx of West Virginia coal into the in dustrial regions supplied by the central compe titive coal field, turned into an eight weeks general strike which was eventually lost. The miners then turned their efforts to West Virginia with indifferent success. The operators fought back with their armed guards so effectiv ely that unionism was compelled to acknowledge defeat. Repeated attempts have been made since but without encouraging results. The famous Cabin and Paint Creek Strike in 1923 was the last attempt. Logan County, the Pocohantas and Tug River Coal fields remain to this day non-union fields.