Bro. AresMan made the statement that labor unions have overstayed their welcome. Well, coming from a home where my dad lost his job on more than one occasion trying to organize a non-union strip mine, this hits close to home. Without unions, the mines will not have someone to keep them in check. Look at the Massey Energy mines here in WVa that have exploded in the last few years. Here's a link to the "Upper Big Branch" mine in Raleigh County, WV: http://www.msha.gov/performancecoal/performancecoal.asp Here's an excerpt from it for y'all to read: From the Sago mine explosion in Upshur County WVa in January 2006: http://www.wju.edu/sago/SagoMineDisasterReport_July2006.pdf So, here are two examples of mines failing to meet federal standards. With a job being union, they stand a better chance of maintaining these standards. Here is a story my dad told me a few years ago. Dad was at a doctor's office somewhere between 1973-74. There was an old man sitting there, who told dad he was 91 at that time, and in his shirt pocket, there was what looked like an old UMWA insurance card. They began talking about the mines, and he asked dad if the mines he worked at was union, and dad said that just a while back, they voted for the job going union, and lost something like 90-20. He then told dad, "Young man, I want to tell you how it was in my day. You went in to work @ 4:00am and worked until either 10:00pm, and sometimes until 2:00am the next morning. If you broke you tools, you paid for them. They said if you don't like the working conditions, take your bucket and leave, there's someone at the bottom of the hill, waiting to take your job." He then told dad that he would rather take himself and his whole family and go and stay in redhot hell for all of eternity than to go back to working before there was a union. Now, I am not saying that unions are morally perfect, because they are composed of humans, and humans aren't perfect. But I'd take my chances with a union any day, than not.