Biden Jobs Assurances Backfire with Oil and Mining Workers
Workers faced with shrinking opportunity have legitimate concerns, said Peter Hille, president of the Mountain Association that promotes more diverse and resilient economic development in eastern Kentucky communities long tied to coal. “Experience has taught them to be skeptical of the promises of politicians,” Hille said.
Richard Chase, a retired miner in Wheeling, West Virginia, knows coal is in decline.
“Sooner or later, coal is going to be done,” Chase said. “It’s a dirty power source.”
But if that happens “all at once you’re going to be putting a lot of guys out of work,” Chase said. “Those guys have to be trained to do something else.”
Chase worked for decades in a series of mines in West Virginia and across the border in Pennsylvania. The work involved long days and plenty of them -- “you could work nine days straight” -- but it earned enough money to feed a family, put children through college and retire at 55, Chase said.
“If it weren’t for that place, I probably wouldn’t be where I’m at now -- retired, and still I can still get anything I want,” Chase said. “I loved that job.”
© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.
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