FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski
As we celebrate the Labor Day weekend and its symbolic end to the summer, it's important to remember and reflect on the holiday’s true meaning. Labor Day is about the hard-working men and women who make our country great – past, present and future.
Throughout much of our nation's history many workers have not always had reasonable hours or the rights to fair wages, compensation for injuries on the job or the freedom to form unions to fight for their rights. Many of us enjoy those rights today, but others are still fighting.
For centuries, the American Coal Miner has traveled deep into the Earth in search of the fuel that powered the Industrial Revolution and fueled the economic engine that transformed the United States into the greatest nation in the world.
The work of coal miners powered the locomotives and foundries. The work of coal miners lit the cities and powered the factories. The “black diamonds” taken from the mines of Northeastern Pennsylvania by untold numbers of brave men – and, too often, boys -- changed the world.
Even today, thanks to the hard work that miners perform in the harshest of conditions, millions of our homes are warm, our towns and cities are lit and our factories can operate. Coal still provides the power to forge the steel that spans our rivers, frames our skyscrapers and protects our troops.
This power comes with a price -- 100,000 miners have died on the job. Just last year 29 miners were killed in an explosion at a mine in West Virginia.
Coal mining is hard and dangerous. Coal miners risk their lives and health to earn a living and support their families and get their piece of the American Dream. They work in conditions that would terrify most of us. They deserve our respect, and I believe coal miners deserve to be honored – not just on Labor Day, but every day.
There is a nationwide effort under way to urge the U.S. Postal Service to recognize the hard work and sacrifices of coal miners by issuing a postal stamp honoring the miners and their families. I've joined forces with the Coal Miners Stamp Committee of Northeastern Pennsylvania and the state-formed Citizen's Stamp Advisory Committee to build support in our community.
I am proud to have led a bipartisan effort to collect signatures through an online petition that has generated thousands of responses. Everyone can add their support for the Coal Miners Stamp online at the website www.coalminerstamp.com
To help promote the stamp, the state House of Representatives unanimously adopted a resolution last year that I sponsored. It calls on the Postal Service's Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee to recommend an image of an American coal miner be placed on a U.S. postage stamp.
The Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee must hear our voices. Just a few days ago, the U.S. Postal Service announced a new series of stamps featuring characters from Disney/Pixar movies, including Buzz Lightyear from the Toy Story series.
The workers who provide the fuel that powers the electric generation plants that allow the computer programmers to create those characters are not honored, but the characters themselves are immortalized on stamps. This is wrong, and I hope you’ll join the fight.
If our nation can have stamps depicting these fictional characters then it's time to honor the 100,000 miners who have been killed and the men and women who continue their legacy and ensure that to be called a "coal miner" remains a badge of courage and honor.
- State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski is a Democrat representing the 121st District in Luzerne County.