It was a warm fall Sunday afternoon. A day for watching football on television or going for a walk in the still-green Virginia countryside. The last thing the security guards at the Pittston Coal Company’s Moss 3 preparation plant were expecting was the sight that greeted them: ninety-nine men in camouflage T-shirts and pants, wearing bright orange vests. “We are an unarmed group. . . . I repeat, we are unarmed. No person or property will be harmed,” United Mine Workers (UMW) Regional Director Eddie Burke shouted through his bullhorn.
Burke’s words were meant to prevent Pittston’s Vance security guards from panicking. It was the sixth month of the UMW’s strike against the Pittston Company, the l...
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