The Pittston Coal strike
was a United States strike action
led by the United Mine Workers Union
(UMWA) against the Pittston Coal Company
, nationally headquartered in Pittston
. The strike, which lasted from April 5, 1989 to February 20, 1990, resulted from Pittston's termination of health care benefits
for approximately 1,500 retirees, widows
, and disabled miners
. The strikers also cited the refusal of the company to contribute to the benefit trust established in 1950 for miners who retired before 1974 and the refusal of the company to bargain in good faith as grounds for their action. The company cited declining coal prices, decreasing demand, and recession as its reason for limiting health care benefits.
The strike affected production in mines mostly in Virginia
, but a few in West Virginia
as well. Mine workers and their families engaged in acts of civil disobedience, work stoppage, protests
, and rallies. At its peak in June 1989, the strike involved approximately 2,000 miners daily staying at Camp Solidarity with thousands more sending donations and holding wildcat walkouts that involved around 40,000 people. The participation of women in the labor action through the ad hoc
formation of the Daughters of Mother Jones
—reminiscent of the early days of union
organization—proved an essential element of the successful strike. (Full article...