Knox Mine Disaster in Northeastern

The story of the 1959 Knox Mine Disaster in Northeastern, PA represents a framework for understanding how labor unions, management, and other organizations had engaged in corrupt labor-management relations. Mining too close to the Susquehanna river bed caused the river bed to collapse. Billions of gallons of water flowed into the mines, putting miners’ lives at risk. The disaster effectively ended the area’s anthracite coal industry. Over 7,500 jobs were lost because of the Knox Mine Disaster causing long-term economic challenges for the region.

Using the Internet, research information on the Knox Mine Disaster and discuss the following questions with your classmates:

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  • What role did the union, management, and other organizations have in the Knox Mine Disaster?
  • According to your research, what was the root cause of the disaster? What labor-relations laws or practices were ignored?
  • Could the disaster have been prevented? If so, how? What future labor laws were put in place that could prevent similar disasters from happening?

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