Coal Tattoo

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More legal news that I didn’t get to on Friday: The United Mine Workers of America union has filed a motion asking to have its say in the Sierra Club’s lawsuit seeking to put Blair Mountain back on the National Register of Historic Places.

In their motion, lawyers for the UMWA explain the significance of the 1921 battle:

Though the UMWA miners who marked to Blair Mountain were defeated in battle, their stand paved the way for legislative and collective bargaining achievements in the first half of the twentieth century that helped build the American middle class.

The Battle of Blair Mountain was perhaps the most significant of a number of episodes of  “industrial strife and unrest” that Congress eventually sought to prevent by creating a legal framework for worker organization and peaceful resolution of industrial disputes.

And in their proposed “friend of the court” brief, the UMWA lawyers back the Sierra Club’s view that “powerful coal companies have undermined the process for nomination of Blair Mountain Battlefield to the National Register”:

It is beyond dispute that powerful coal companies continue to wield considerable influence over the economy and politics in West Virginia and beyond. Indeed, the instant matter demonstrates that the present-day administration of federal statutes in the state is not immune from such influence.

I’ve posted the UMWA’s court documents here.