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    "The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people."
    Cesar Chavez

    :: Thursday, November 23, 2006 ::

    Union issue splits young miners from old - By Dale Russakoff, Washington Post
    Those are union wages, but there is no union here. As the industry withered east of the Mississippi River, so did the United Mine Workers of America - from 167,000 active members in 1980 to 16,000 today.

    Now the union is trying to come back, too, beginning with an organizing campaign targeting Peabody Energy Corp., owner of the Gateway Mine and the world's largest coal company.

    It is proving to be a tough slog, and not just because the weakened union is up against a multibillion-dollar company. The UMWA is struggling to bridge a gap between young workers like Vandom, giddy over high wages in this long-depressed region, and older ones focused on pensions and gold-plated health care in retirement.

    It is the same generational divide that defines the national debate over Social Security, but it is starker here because there is no one in the middle.
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