Coal companies are notorious for getting every bit of production out of a mine at the lowest cost. Few seem to realize this when it comes to labor, or at least it doesn’t manifest itself outside of the fear of being fired if you appear to be falling behind. Somewhere in the middle of it all, between working constantly to keep a job, and fighting Obama against the War on Coal, people seem to lose understanding of how companies manipulate their workforce.
For instance, and I will go ahead and warn you that I am repeating myself, coal companies can get by with cheaper labor if people work mandatory overtime. It seems like a win win situation. The coal company is getting the extra work from all those extra hours that eventually add up to another 40 hour position they don’t have to hire. By not hiring the extra person, they don’t have to pay out any extra health benefits, workman’s compensation, dental, retirement, etc. The miners working overtime are also reaping a few benefits, higher paychecks in exchange for time at home with their family.
The truth is, however, when you work mandatory overtime, you are starving another family in Appalachia. When you rake in those bigger paychecks, someone is having to draw unemployment, or food stamps, and/or state healthcare because they cannot find a job that will pay much better than minimum wage and has benefits. I should also remind you that chances are, the coal companies are not paying a lot of taxes, so who is having to pay for it all in the end?
Just a few things to think about….