In 2006, production workers, earned $21.40 an hour in oil and gas extraction, $22.08 an hour in coal mining, $22.39 an hour in metal ore mining, and $18.74 an hour in nonmetallic minerals mining, compared to the private industry average of $16.76 an hour
Figure 1 and Figure 2 below show the 'Average Earnings of Non-Supervisory Workers in 2006 and Median Hourly Mining of the Largest Occupations in Mining, May 2006, respectively.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor (2007)
The U.S. Department of Labor report states that earnings are higher for the average of all industries. However, the report also states: "Working conditions in mines, quarries, and well sites can be unusual and sometimes dangerous." (2007) Moreover the U.S. Department of Labor report states: "Underground mines are damp and dark, and some can be very hot and noisy. At times, several inches of water may cover tunnel floors. Although underground mines have electric lights along main pathways, many tunnels are illuminated only by the lights on miner's hats. Workers in mines with very low roofs may have to work on their hands and knees, backs, or stomachs, in confined spaces. In underground mining operations, unique dangers include the possibility of a cave-in, mine fire, explosion, or exposure to harmful gases. In addition, dust generated by drilling in mines still places miners at risk of developing either of two serious lung diseases: pneumoconiosis, also called "black lung disease," from coal dust, or silicosis from rock dust.' (2007)
IV. MONETARY and FISCAL POLICIES
The work of Stephen Leahy entitled: "Climate Change: U.S. Moving Backwards" relates that even while global warming "melts the Artic, the United State's biggest banks are investing billions. Carbon regulations are coming...It is folly to build new coal-fired plants. However, that is exactly what Bank of America and Citi (formerly Citigroup) are doing. Leahy relates the well-acknowledged truth that "Electricity generation from coal is the biggest source of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the world - larger than deforestation or the transportation sector." (2007) Leahy reports that the Artic ice cap "shrank dramatically this summer have left scientists shocked at the speed and extent of the melting. Coal currently supplies approximately half of the U.S.'s electricity and produces 80% of the...
Building new coal-fired plants -- which have projected lifespans of 50 years -- would undo virtually any and all domestic efforts to reduce carbon emission..." (2007) Leahy concludes by noting the insanity of investing in 19th rather than 21st century technology. (2007; paraphrased) Leahy states: "Instead of investing the estimated 140 billion dollars in coal, financial institutions should be investing in clean energy options like solar, wind and energy efficiency..." (2007) Investment in energy efficiency and clean energy initiatives has the possibility of a 19% reduction in electricity demands in the United States by the year 2025 and would also bring about an elimination of "...the need for new coal power plants." (Leahy, 2007) Coal mining is inclusive of removal of mountaintops as well as "enormous strip mines and millions of tons of toxic waste..." (Leahy, 2007)
SUMMARY and CONCLUSION
It is apparent that coal production will likely rise while worker pay and employment in the coal mining industry will shrink in the next decade. Furthermore, while the coal mining industry will be impacted by a large group of retiring workers at the same time the requirements for education and technology training will increase bringing about additional requirements of workers previously unheard of for employment in the coal mining industry. As climate warming continues to be a growing and relevant concern, it is likely, that future investments will be geared toward alternative fuel sources and that this will greatly influence the coal mining industry. While wages in the mining industries are higher than the overall average in other industries the fact is that for the additional dangers and harsh working conditions in this industry, it is likely that great inequalities in wages exist for these workers, very few of, who are members of any union that works toward fair wages and working conditions.
Industry Overview: Coal Mining (2008) Hoovers Online available at http://www.hoovers.com/coal-mining-/--ID__157 -- /freeuk-ind-fr-profile-basic.xhtml
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Career Guide to Industries, 2008-09 Edition, Mining, Available online at http://www.bls.gov/oco/cg/cgs004.htm
Leahy, Stephen (2007) Climate Change: U.S. Moving Backwards. Intermedia Net. Online available at http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=39498
World Steel Production Report (2007) ISSB Monthly World I &…
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