2012: Miners are cheaper than cardboard props.
Now of course, in retrospect, Romney may be wishing that he had donned overalls and a hard hat and gone himself to the mines. Entered the dark, dirty, and dangerous pits where the miners have been digging for so many years to bring out the coal that has powered a nation, and had his photo-op there. But then, it was so much easier and less expensive to have the miners hand delivered to him by their boss, living breathing props standing behind him, clapping and cheering right on cue. And Romney in a nice white starched shirt, posing as their defender.
But to miners, the word "prop" has another meaning, having to do with mine safety. Props in the grandfather's day were the timbers that held up the roof of the mine preventing cave-ins. Props took time and cost money to put up. And being paid by the ton, the pressure was always on for the miners to dig and load the coal as fast as possible.
1912/13 Miners are cheaper than timber props.
In August of 1912, Mother Jones spoke before a mass meeting on the steps of the capitol in Charleston, West Virginia. She was speaking on behalf of striking miners:
A [reporter] says, "Why don't you prop the mines?" The operator said, "Oh, hell; Dagoes are cheaper than props!" Now, every miner is a Dago with the blood-sucking pirates, and they are cheaper than props, because if they kill a hundred of you, why, it was your fault.Mother Jones repeated this story to the miners of Trinidad, Colorado, just before their strike in September of 1913. She was urging unity between the miners of all the many nationalities within their ranks. Regarding the use by the operators of the term, "Dagoes," she warned:
Don't you see their plan was to divide the working class?She exhorted the miners not to let the coal operators divide them, and to stand together in unity:
I want you to pledge yourselves in this convention to stand as one solid army against the foes of human labor. Think of the thousands who are killed every year and there is no redress for it. We will fight until the mines are made secure and human life valued more than props.
WE NEVER FORGET
Aug 6 & 16, 2007
Crandall Canyon Mine Disaster
Emery Co, Utah
Kerry Allred Gary Jensen
Luís Hernandez Brandon Kimber
Carlos Payon Dale Black
Robert E Murray & Murray Energy Corporation
The Ohio mine which uses its living miners like cardboard props, is owned by Murray Energy Corporation. The Crandall Canyon Mine in Emery Co, Utah was owned by a subsidiary of this same corporation. Safety violations were found in connection with the disaster, and fines were announced, but no arrests were ever made. None ever are when workers lives are lost due to management neglect. The fines were small compared to the yearly profits. Miners lives are still cheaper than safety, even yet today.
So in conclusion bare in memory
Keep this password in your mind
Workers strength cannot be broken
When in Union you combine.
Stand up tall, and stand together.
Victory for you prevails.
Keep your hand upon your wages,
And your eye upon scale.
Union Miners stand together
Do not heed the Coal Boss tale
Keep your hand upon your wages
And your eye upon scale.