Testimony Wrapped Up In Federal Hearing

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

Testimony wrapped up Wednesday in a federal hearing to determine if a Letcher County coal miner was wrongly disciplined when he video-taped alleged safety violations at the mine where he worked and showed that tape at an M-SHA hearing.

Both the coal miner who shot the video and the manager who wrote him up took the stand Wednesday.

Charles Scott Howard says he was trying to get safety repairs.

Coal Manager Gaither Frazier says he did not know about the tape until the M-SHA hearing.

Howard testified he shot the video in April 2007, because he claims nothing was being done to fix cracking seals, so he wanted to show M-SHA the problems, but Cumberland River Coal Manager Gaither Frazier testified that Howard never told him there was a safety threat, and says Howard knew cameras were not allowed underground without permission, so he gave him a written warning

“Mr. Howard standing up for the rights of the coal miners, not just for himself, but for other miners in eastern Kentucky, that they have the right complain or document unsafe conditions without fear or reprisal,” Tony Oppegard said.

Attorneys for Cumberland River Coal did not comment.

The judge says he will take 30 days to review all the documents, so it could be several months before there is a decision.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Shiro Location: Floyd County on Dec 18, 2008 at 05:05 AM
    Why did only the workers know of these violations?Why didn't management know of these violations?Hum!Poor management
  • by Susan Location: BC Canada on Dec 17, 2008 at 06:56 PM
    God Bless this man for standing up for the rights and safety of other miners, it should have been a joint effort amongst all the workers, not just one man -- remember Kentucky's motto? United We Stand, Divided We Fall!! Stand up for your rights, miners, so you will be safe to return to your families at night. As a group, you can make a difference; don't fear for your jobs, fear for your life and the comrades you work with.
  • by Sandy Location: Pikeville on Dec 17, 2008 at 06:13 PM
    I think that it was great he took that video.It should be done more often then these mines that have unsafe conditions would be more apt to make sure that the mines are safe for their workers. Not just when they are notified by the inspectors that they are coming and fix it temporarily until they leave. I guess their should be steps though. He should have took the pictures. Made copies and be sure that someone else knows about them in the family or something(you can never tell about the big shot mine officials, he could have a little accident if it means they would be losing big money. I hate to be negative,but that is a fact that could happen)Then notify the mines of the problem. If they don't make any effort to fix it, then send the pictures to MSHA. Really you can't be that naive to think that they were going to leave it and not put forth some kind of punishment for telling.I guess he better be glad that he's still alive to talk. Not like a few that has been rumored to have accident


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