Fighting for Black Lung Pension benefits
“Doctor took half my lung out. Did a biopsy. Told me it was black lung. But the company doctor and the lawyers from Jackson Kelly fought me in court for 7 years.”
Jerry Coleman had to wait 7 years to get the Black Lung Pension benefits guaranteed to him by the federal government, benefits paid for with his own labor.
This is how our government works across almost any industry. The company gets paid first. Then the company doctors. Then the company lawyers. Then the Feds. Then, maybe, if you don’t give up, and if you survive long enough, and if your company hasn’t filed bankruptcy… maybe you’ve got a shot of getting the money you earned. The system’s rigged.
Jerry spent 37 years in the mines, most of those years underground. “It’s the only thing people got up here.”
He’s now the volunteer leader of the Kanawha County Black Lung Association, which meets once/month at a small church in Cabin Creek, WV.
We can have a state black lung pension fund. We can do more to strengthen and enforce bankruptcy laws. We can keep more of the wealth generated from the land beneath our feet in those same communities. And we can tighten every law that allows corporate lobbyists and PACs to run roughshod over us.
But only if we do what generations of miners have always had to do, and fight.
See a few of our plans to address these issues here: