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Title: Interview with Randell Hines Identifier: 1997oh035 Date: 12 Dec 1996 Interviewer: Jerrell Reynolds Project: Blue Diamond/Stearns Coal Mining Strike

JERRELL REYNOLDS: Stearns coal company in the 1970s during the strike. The interview was conducted by Jerrell Reynolds a student at Eastern Kentucky University for the Blue Diamond coal mine strike oral history project. The interview was conducted at Revelo, Kentucky on December 12, 1996 at about 6:30 pm. [unclear] I want to thank for coming by, please state your full name.

RANDELL DALE HINES: Randell Dale Hines

REYNOLDS: Ah, Dale will you give me a brief history of work in the mines. Where did you work and what did you do, that sort of thing?

HINES: Well I started out in the coal mines in 1972 for Stearns coal and 1:00lumber company and then they sold to Blue Diamond coal company, I don't know, probably 1974 or somewhere along in that area. And then after Blue Diamond, after the strike or during ... in the middle of the strike or at one time during the strike I left and went to Peabody coal company in western Kentucky and worked a while and then come back. And then I went back to Peabody coal company and worked another pretty good while. Maybe a couple or three years. And then, and then I went to Pike county in eastern Kentucky, and I worked about three and a half years, four, in Pike county.

REYNOLDS: What did you do when you was in the mines what was your job?

HINES: I done everything that was to be done in a conventional section. In other words in a conventional section you had each individual piece of equipment that done it's job.

REYNOLDS: And you worked all jobs?

HINES: If it was necessary I done them all, uh you know, not at once but I done 2:00them one at a time whatever.

REYNOLDS: Um A lot of fellows I've talk to talk about safety and working conditions at Stearns, what were they like?

HINES: At Stearns?

REYNOLDS: At Stearns, yeah tell me [unclear]

HINES: If Stearns was the only mine that you ever worked at, it, it was the Justice mine, if it was the only mine, that, that a, a coal miner ever worked at of course he wouldn't know no different he wouldn't have anything else to compare it to.


HINES: But if you compared it to Peabody coal company's mine and the safety 3:00programs that they had there and the conditions, the working conditions, it was as much difference. To, to better identify it it would be kind of like walking out of the Governors mansion in Frankfort up here and comparing it to my little house down in Yamacraw where I live right now. If that could say anything you know to what you would be comparing the two to. Ah, of course you know I don't live like the Governor.

REYNOLDS: Right. [laughter] What were some of the safety problems down there, do you recall?

HINES: Air, the amount of ventilation. Uh, the safety monitors, monitors on the equipment. The gas monitors taped over, or disconnected which would shut the machine off automatically if it got into a certain percentage of gas. Wired around .Um, roof conditions, roof conditions was terrible. Ah, transportation, you know, to and from, there was hardly any way at all to get an injured miner out of the mines on a stretcher, you know, if you had to crawl around rock falls and things like that.

REYNOLDS: They had a lot of rock falls in the mines there?

HINES: There was rock falls on a daily basis at Stearns.


REYNOLDS: Where you worked there was a rock fall basically?

HINES : If you worked at Stearns, damn near, you had to put up with rock falls on a daily basis. You just tried not to be where they was at when they happened.

REYNOLDS: Was there any way you could tell if they were going to happen?

HINES: In the top seam you could. They worked two seams, there was the top seams and a bottom seam. In the top seam you could because the roof was sound enough that you could, it would pop and crack and make enough noise, on the average, that you knew it was falling. But in the bottom seam you didn't have that luxury. It was, the bottom seam, had that, the roof on it was like a, like a soapstone. You could pike a handful of it up, you could pick up a rock, what you thought was a rock out of the top break off a chunk of it and keep working it in your hand and after about ten minutes you'd have a ball, a ball of mud. Or a ball of broken crumbled rock with your hand.



HINES: And you could imagine now if that rock breaking what kind of sound it would make compared to a solid rock breaking.

REYNOLDS: When Stearns was running the mine did you ah have any problem with the bosses and Stearns people at all?

HINES: When Stearns company was running the mines?


HINES: Absolutely, they had one, they had one, the third shift mine foreman, the third shift mine foreman that they had. I, I don't know how to describe the man, he's dead now. I don't imagine uh, if you want I can call his name.


HINES: uh I'd rather not.

REYNOLDS: You don't have to ( )

HINES: Uh, I had a, I had a brother that was an alcoholic. Best miner that you 6:00ever seen, could run any piece of equipment in the mines. Just like me he was an alcoholic. Not like me I'm not a, I didn't mean it that way but ah, but ah. This boss knew him and didn't like him. When I first started for Stearns company, he assumes that I was just like my brother. And especially on a Sunday night the first night of the week. He would try his best to kill you if he could, with work. And if you sweated, to him it was blue ribbons sweating out of you. That's true, it was blue ribbons sweating out of you, if it was to him. And he'd talk to you like you wasn't nothing like a pure dog. To influence another worker, whether you was guilty or not.

REYNOLDS: Was there not anything you could do about that?

HINES: Well when he's a company man you, at that time, we didn't have any, we didn't have any protection at all, you know. You had the little ah, Justice Miners association, which was ah, ah, company formed to keep a actual a union out. Is what it was actually formed for.

REYNOLDS: I'm not familiar with that. When Blue Diamond took over what was, how 7:00was you treated by the bosses then, any different?

HINES: [cough] Well by that time, even before that time I had transferred to 8:00the day shift, you know, because I, I, I made a special trip the last time I was talked to like a dog was over four shovels. That we didn't have time to take back down to the main line and lock up as this particular foreman or supervisor wanted done. So we, we hid them [cough] close to the elevators. And this barely did get there in time to catch the elevator to get to the outside. And the way he talked to me that day over four shovels, I'd done taken all I could take so the next morning at daylight or, just, the starting of the day shift I was in the superintendents office and told him if I couldn't get transferred I was going to kill son of a bitch. And I fully intended to do it. So he, ah, that day, ah, that night when I come into work that guy told me [cough] he said "Here they want you to come in the day shift tomorrow" So I transferred to the day shift but after that time I didn't, you know, the bosses I had I was lucky. The bosses I had after that have actually become good close friends of mine.

REYNOLDS: Uh, did ah, Blue Diamond push you guys petty hard though after they bought the mines to get production up?

HINES: After Blue Diamond bought the mine [cough ] the, the ongoing threat was that if you all ever decide to vote or to require united mine workers to be your representative that they will shut the mine down.

REYNOLDS: Who told you fellows that?

HINES: Oh it was just a rumor passed through from boss to boss, you know, and 9:00then they'd say, you know, Blue Diamond is going to take all this conventional units out and put a continuous miner operation in here and and and two-thirds of you is going to lose your job anyway, you know. It was just a constant undercurrent type deal you know that ah, you're your future was in jeopardy.

REYNOLDS: So ah, tell me about the involvement of united mine workers. How did they get involved in the Stearns?

HINES: When the local contract was up for the for the JEA, I guess that's what I always called it. The Justice employees association, the little local union there, like I said was formed for the benefit of the company, in order to keep the united mine workers out. When their contract was up we petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to hold another election and voted for the mine workers then, United mine workers.

REYNOLDS: Now what was the result of that vote?

HINES: Ah if I'm not bad fooled, it's been a long time, its been over twenty 10:00years, but if I'm not bad fooled the vote was 177 to [cough] 56.

REYNOLDS: Those 56 miners that voted against, they ended up crossing the picket line?

HINES: Not necessarily, uh quite a few, of course you never know it was a closed, it was a secret election, you know. But of most of the people that campaigned and all that didn't make no bones about who they was for, so you really knew who, you know. Well it wasn't necessarily that way, I mean, there were some of them that crossed it. Of course there was some that crossed it too who actually voted for the mine workers too because they thought it was a sure thing, you know. They thought it, you know, ah, and it should have been as far as, ah, as far as ah, the company had no intentions from the start of ever signing a contract with United Mine Workers Of America.

REYNOLDS: When you say the company are you talking about Blue Diamond?

HINES: I'm talking about Blue Diamond coal company run and controlled by Gordon Bonneman.


REYNOLDS: Well ah, what ah, tell me about your time on picket line. What was a day like down there?

HINES: Just a typical day?

REYNOLDS: Just give me a typical day.

HINES: Well for a couple of years, you know, or a year, probably about a year 12:00there was no problems, you know. I mean, the company personnel went in and done their thing, you know, and we stayed on the picket line and done our thing. We would have picnics, we would have cookouts ah, ah, you know somebody would cook up a kettle of fresh squirrels and put some gravy on them and we'd have a little picnic. Or they'd bring a side of meat down and we'd barbeque it or whatever, you know. Ah, no trouble at all, you know, no trouble at all. And then, ah, for the first year, and then the company decided that they needed to hire a security system which at that time they hadn't had anything bothered at all, to my knowledge. So they hired Storm Security system out of London, Kentucky to set up the security system. So the first thing they done, a friend of mine went down into a junk yard. Next to their fan shaft there's a junk yard there and he went down in there to get some parts for an old vehicle he that had. And while he was done in that junk yard. The bullet holes are still in the old cars to back it up, after twenty years of still setting there. The security guard that they had at at the mine shaft open fire on these boys. They fired several rounds at them with a high powered rifle. Like I say the bullet holes are still in the cars to back it up if we could go down and find them. If it's not growed up around them and rusted away. But that was the first shots that was fired in the dispute 13:00between Blue Diamond coal company and the United Mine Workers local union.

REYNOLDS: So, some of the fellows I talked about said that several of the big people was carrying guns too so they, they said that they done it as a way of defending themselves. Do you remember it being that way?

HINES: I was threatened on numerous occasions. The, the first, ah, I guess the first time I ever started carrying a gun to the picket line was for personal protection. Because of fears that I didn't know who was going to come through and shoot, you know.

REYNOLDS: Did you ever have any cars come through and shoot while you were on picket?

HINES: I've had ah, no not out of a car, I don't remember of any, anybody come by in a car. I don't think he would have made it if he had done. I don't think he could have ever made it through if he'd actually done that.

REYNOLDS: Well how did the replacement workers get in and out, did they not have to go through you fellows?

HINES: At first, at first, they, they, they, they had all these security guards 14:00over there and they was the ones that actually started the problems see theses security guards was. They, ah, they had, ah, they hired security people that was wanted for every kind of crime in the book. We had friends in the state investigation and and and actually even as far as the FBI that some of these security guards that they had was on their most wanted list. That they would hire. They would hide their selves in that compound and get paid for it, by Blue Diamond coal company and they was wanted. And if we found their names out which, which their mobile telephone system, you know the,the, we would, we had a radio that would pick up all these calls. And we would find their names out and we would have them investigated and you would be surprised at the types or people that they had in there as security guards. Some was hired especially to 15:00cause trouble, you know, and then they shipped on out. But once you get built up you know, I mean, you're looking at some people that you can't see, that's shooting at you and all you know that somebody's over there doing it. So you, you get to shooting back and after that point it don't matter. You know you can change all of these people out and bring preachers in there.


HINES: But after that point it don't matter. And that's how these companies does that, you know. They, they, ah, they perpetrate these things their selves. See they s-

REYNOLDS: [unclear] strike

HINES: They set it up their selves with with with these shots fired with their 16:00camera system set up to see what your going to do. But its always a one sided film see, you know, it's a one sided deal, the other side is never heard or seen. And then when the camera switches back around there's no thugs to see such as wife beaters, you know and child abusers and things that we had the state law and the FBI to actually go across our picket line and go in and bring them out. There was. . . .

REYNOLDS: Did they go in and take them and bring them out?

HINES: They have, they've went in and brought them out. They went in there when we would tell them you know hey this guy you're looking for is over in this compound. They would actually cross our picket line and go over and arrest this guy and bring him out. They've done it.

REYNOLDS: Were they the only ones you guys let go in and out of the picket line?

HINES: Well, we didn't really stop anybody you know I mean we never did actually stop, we tried. But then, then what we had to combat was like a 150 state troopers, sent in by the government in order to break the strike.

REYNOLDS: Ah, most of the time the political crisis like this the Democratic 17:00party is quick to help the labor was ah, was the Governor republican or democrat at that time do you recall?

HINES: He was probably a Democrat but there is a lot of difference, now I'm a Democrat myself.

R; Um hum

HINES: Theres a lot of difference in how each individual feels you know about it. Personally if I was the governor and called a state trooper interfering with a strike I, I'd send him on to get him another job somewhere. I'd say if you like it that bad go on down there and cross the picket line yourself and work for five dollars an hour. That's how I would handle it. But then, then you know it just, it just who, it boils back down, in a situation like that to who likes who for a buck or two, you know. At this organization here contributed more to the campaign then I would say that democrat don't have a bit of remorse at all about going against them. and I don't particularly don't remember exactly who the governor was. Seems to me it was John Y Brown I'm not for sure.

REYNOLDS: Julian Carroll maybe?


HINES: Maybe Julian Carroll I think your right, it wasn't John Y Brown. It was Julian Carroll. Maybe not now I'm not not, that's not, that's not a definte.

REYNOLDS: Did you get any help from the state at all?

HINES: You mean like what?

REYNOLDS: Like any of the agencies that work for the state, did they support the union or did you guys pretty much find rough way to go [unclear] ?

HINES: Are you talking, are you talking about in law enforcement?

REYNOLDS: Law enforcement, state government involvement, anything like that.

HINES: We never got any help at all from any branch of the state government. Not voluntary help. We got some help that was forced.

REYNOLDS: Such as?

HINES: Well, like ah assistance with, ah, heating bills, electric bills, um 19:00you know. We was drawing, it seems to me it was like $150 a week [unclear] time. Or maybe 100 and 20 I'm not for sure exactly how much it was. Maybe it was just 100 I don't really remember it's been 20 years.


HINES: I could, I've got the check stubs I could dig them out of the trunk and look. But anyway, it was way below, it was as much as, it was as much as your normal people around here was being paid to at these little slave holes.


HINES: You know these sweat shops that they've got here right now. It was as much as they were being paid then. And they was eligible for food stamps, ah, heating assistance, such things as they had at the time, but you'd have to force their hand to do it. Such as a federal they put the food stamp program was under the federal government at the time.


HINES: Which was most likely a republican president.

REYNOLDS: Uh, you know of a any negotiations between Blue Diamond and United 20:00Mine Workers during the strike?

HINES: I attended some of the negotiating sessions. Matter of fact I attended the last one they ever had.

REYNOLDS: What was the sessions like, what did you see there?

HINES: Ah Gordon Bonneman as the chief negotiator for the Blue Diamond coal 21:00company ah, would, ah, deliberately antagonize the people and what they wanted and what the requirements were. He would deliberately ah, uh, in other words it was bad faith negotiation. You know he would come up today on one thing and down on something else. And the next negotiation he would bring it down and the next one up, everything up you know. The only thing they ever did agree on. The only thing that's ever agreeable on in the negotiating that took place before and during the strike, was the third shift bonus for third shift workers.

REYNOLDS: In your opinion what caused the strike down there at Stearns?

HINES: Unfair labor practices, ah, um, failure to negotiate in good faith, um deliberate act intimidation, uh, different things.

REYNOLDS: You fellows felt like you didn't have any choice to go to United Mine Workers?

HINES: We didn't have any. The day I the last day that I ever worked for 22:00Stearns company, the very last day I ever worked for Stearns company or Blue Diamond coal company in other words. I still call it Stearns company. The last day I worked for them I crawled between a rock fall and where a roof had fell and it was laying in a 4160 volt cable about the size of my arm there, it was like I say at 4160 volts traveling through this thing. There was rock fall was laying on top of this and this rock fall was about two breaks long which each breaks it 70 foot long so it's what 140 foot plus cross cut would have been about 160 foot rock fall about 10 foot deep, 18 to 25 foot wide. And as it fell it got, comes like this so it leaves a little space right in here at either side, you know, it comes down at a diamond shape like you know. Right here at the ground level where the rib or the coal seam starts again for that pillar. . . .


HINES: . . . .you know that's actually holding the rest of the top up. There 23:00was a space about a 1 1/2 foot or 2 foot wide the last day I worked for Blue Diamond coal company I pushed my dinner bucket ahead of me and crawled through such a space to get on beyond it to where we was working. At dinner time the food in the lunch bucket was not fit to eat with the mud and the water in it. Just the, the cable that was crawling through in the mud and stuff here was buried down into that mud and mashed down in it with thousands of tons of rock on it. . . .


HINES: . . . .and untelling how many places it was cut in that rubber cable, that coating that was on that. . . .


HINES: . . . .The thing is supposed to be designed to knock a main line breaker 24:00from the outside everything except the fan, the ventilation, if there's a rock fall of any kind on the cable. But they had the breakers set up and a, and a, prop underneath it to hold it in with a timber so it couldn't knock it. if a rock fell on it. You understand what I'm saying?

REYNOLDS: Right exactly. Yeah.

HINES: The last day I worked there I crawled through that space, the whole section did. We had a guy that shot he was a shooter man, you know the one that [unclear] dynamite in the holes and fired and blowed the coal down. He was a heavier person, he couldn't get through it so he didn't work that last day.

REYNOLDS: Just because he couldn't get to where to work?

HINES: Because he couldn't get to it. Now if he had have been able to drop through there and had got hurt in that face, or if I had of, or any other of the thirteen people that was there and you put this guy on a stretcher, how was you going to get him back out of there?

REYNOLDS: I've had a couple of other men tell me the very same thing. Said that 25:00in the last section they was working that if a fellow got hurt there was no way they could have got him out.

HINES: Four left section, or,er it was on the one west section.

REYNOLDS: One west that's the one.

HINES: One west section was the name of the section I worked on second shift. If a man would have got hurt on, in that mine right there you would have had to drug him out by the heels. If you got him out. There would have been no possible way of getting him out of there without that. If you was lucky enough to get him out without electrocuting him.

REYNOLDS: Did you guys not make any of these complaints to the company on the..?

HINES: I made a complaint one time to the company. As a mater of fact I called 26:00Washington D. C. the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Not the, not the, not the mine enforcement division of it. Ah the Federal Bureau Of Mines and reported a federal inspector that came on the section took an air reading, said "I have to shut you all down you don't have enough air." So we come back around and we hung curtain, curtain cloth up, and diverted the air, and tightened all the holes and stuff that were loose. The supervisor and I went together and took another reading. He said "This didn't help a bit." We already had them plugged. This didn't help a bit. And I looked over the guys shoulder as he took the air reading, with, the air thermomete, you know taking the air reading. And when he got his figures I figured them behind him while he was figuring in front of him. He didn't even know I was looking over his shoulder. Well, he probably knew it but he didn't know I was figuring along with him. When he got through, I had already got my figures calculated and done. I come up with 7200 feet, I looked over his shoulder and he had come up with 7200 feet. The inspector, at that time 27:00the general mine foreman walked in. The inspector said "Okay boys," but him and the mine foreman, not the mine foreman but the, but the general mine foreman went around the corner a little ways and in a minute or two he come back. And he said "Okay boys I just took another air reading and you've just barely got 9000 feet, I'm going to let you go." And then him and the general mine foreman walked out together. We was told we had a little better than 9000 feet, which 9000 was requirements, when in fact I'd looked over the supervisors shoulder, with every piece of equipment dead in the mine. In other words not one piece running to stir the air nowhere, or to go through a curtain and divert it on down to 4000 feet, if the curtain was open while it was going through it. That 28:007200 feet jumped up to 9000 feet when that general mine foreman walked in. So I called D.C. and complained. And even told them the figures. The next day that same inspector was back and shut the whole mine down. The superintendent of the mines called me in the mines, called me in the office. Threatened me, a hell in a [unclear], told my immediate supervisor to give me a sack full of nails and a hammer and and some of that old rotten muddy curtain cloth that they had and let me hang curtains for a week in the mud hole down there see if it kind of wouldn't straighten me up a little bit.


REYNOLDS: Now this was the superintendent for Blue Diamond?

HINES: This was the superintendent for Blue Diamond.

REYNOLDS: Tell me a little bit about, ah, Souther Labor Union and their involvement in this if there was any involvement at all.

HINES: At Stearns?


HINES: They, they come on the scene. They sent a couple of representatives up, 30:00they come on the scene, trying to get a toehold in. But we immediately rejected them because of their past history. They were a, it was formed by an ex, ex coal operator, Southern Labor Union was. It was formed by an ex coal operator, didn't have anything, and never become wealthy until he got that formed. And if he's still living, he's, he's a wealthy man today on account of it. But it was on the sweat and the blood of these workers that [unclear] by that deal there. But his name is Ted Q Wilson and he's a crook from way back.

REYNOLDS: I was introduced to Mr. Wilson through another interview I did, ah. Lasting affects of the strike, what would you say are the lasting affect? How has it affected anything that is going on today?

HINES: In the county?


HINES: It told all these other little sweat shops around here that they could 31:00get by with whatever they wanted to get by with. That this county could be handled if, if, if not one way then another, It could be bought if had to be. Uh, such as, ah, ah, the AFL-CIO union over here right now that J.C. Agnew's killing. You know at the time that we was in the Stearns down here, his scale was ten and twelve dollars an hour twenty, eighteen years ago, fifteen years ago. Ah, eight to ten dollars and hour was the paying scale labor then. Right now he's paying 5.25 an hour, because he don't have to pay more. It's ah, ah th- the affect of it, I don't know how it affected some people but personally you know some people says [unclear], and I know your Dad does, I mean I don't

END Recording (Side One)

HINES: Some people has the feeling, Jerry that the union may have sold out on us then. I know some of them does, now I was talking to your dad here just a little bit ago before we started this interview and he feels that way and maybe they're right I don't know. Personally, I don't feel that way you know? I don't feel that the mine workers sold out on us, I feel that they went as far as they could go. REYNOLDS: Um-hum

HINES: You know there had to be a stopping point somewhere; I feel they went as 32:00far as they could go. Under the conditions that they were put through here, and I feel they done a good job you know I feel they done a good job while they was here. Uh, I don't regret anything that ever happened to me on that picket line. In other words I don't regret anything I ever done; I've never done anything that's ashamed of. United Mine Workers always treat me right, many of many time when they were doing release programs with things they would have I would leave things say "no you don't give that to me, you give it to this guy over here because he may need it more than me". And my, my position was on it, I knew where I stood, there was no doubt in my mind where I stood. But if this guy over here was having a pretty rough time the economic pressure might force him to go back across that picket line and go back to work, I'd say you help this guy over here. Some of them even went back any way you can help them all you could, 33:00they'd still cross that picket line and go back.

REYNOLDS: Did you have quite a few go back?

HINES: We had, we had some. We had, we had we never did have the majority of them go back. We never did.

REYNOLDS: How do,[unclear] did you guys that walked the picket feel about guys that walked and then went back?

HINES: Well I figured, that they was they was a, a to not be trusted. I still 34:00don't trust them, after 20 years I can look at them on the streets and don't trust them. Uh, but then again you don't know their feelings, you don't know their pain, you don't know what they was going through. You don't, you don't know how their a health was standing up, you don't know how their family was pressuring them, you don't know what their wives wanted, you don't know what their kids demanded. So it's hard for me to say after looking back 20 year. But I can say one thing; you'll never ever find me Gale Hines, ever crossing the picket line of anybody's for no reason, unless its to drag one of those sons of bitches out and choke him to death, if I had the right.

REYNOLDS: How did the strike affect your family? How did it affect you and your family personally?

HINES: My wife and I we didn't have no kids see we at that time had no kids, my 35:00first child was born on the picket line. Actually, it drawled, it, it pulled us together. You know when you got 150 men out here on the picket line, or out here anywhere you've got 150 different personalities, you've got 150 different people. You know you may have Protestants, you may have Catholics, you may have um, um Methodists you know [unclear] different kinds of religions. Also you may have some whoremongers, you may have some alcoholics, you may have some people whose already had problems with their lives. But, one time in particular, these couple of these guy went down into Tennessee picked up this uh this gale at the border down there you know? Brought her back to the picket line. Well, at that particular time I wasn't on the picket line, I never saw the girl. But anyways one of the guys that when down to get her, his wife run into my wife the next day, and said "boy I guess that really tickled you to find out that your husband went down to the border and brought that slut back up there for the picket line people to, to use didn't it?" she said "what are you talking about?" and she 36:00said "did he slipped, slipped it on you and don't know?" she said "Your husband went down to the border last night and picked up this whore and brought her back to the picket line" and my wife said "I don't think so, he was in bed with me. Couldn't have been him". So you see how things gets turned, and I didn't even know about this for like a week or ten days latter. But, it kind of, it kind of put my wife and I into a, into a situation that where we didn't believe anything that other people said. You know, that, that was 20 years ago and, and she's the finest person on earth as far as I'm concerned. We have our arguments but she's a fine person

REYNOLDS: Did the uh strike effect you all financially?

HINES: Oh sure, I bought groceries for six months with, with poker money I won on the picket line.

REYNOLDS: That the only way you had to buy groceries?


HINES: That's, that's how I bought grocers, with money that I won from the other people, other people on the picket line, you know playing poker. It took my pay check for doctor bills for my daughter, and if it hadn't been for poker game every once and a while, we would have hardly bought groceries. But of course I raised a garden also, you know.

REYNOLDS: Over all would you say you had any regrets at all about walking the picket as long as you did?

HINES: I am tickled to death that the last day I ever worked for Blue Diamond 38:00Coal Company was when I couldn't eat my dinner after I got to the working place. I, if the strike hadn't caused me to left that place. Then, then most likely by now I would have been dead. Probably a lot of other people to. But Blue Diamond Coal Company cared less, the value of a chunk of coal it didn't diminish if it had blood on it, it was worth the same. See what I'm saying. Now when you went to Peabody Coal Company, and you went to work in that mine, er as I did. The same 7200 cable, they had a 7200 cable we had a 4160 down here. 4160 volts they had 7200 volts on, on their cable, it's bigger about twice the size. You could take a cap wedge, now a cap wedge is a, is a, is a v shaped board sharpened on the end to tighten the timber up that you cut. So you cut a timber, a eight inch timber to fit from the bottom to the top, and you took a cap wedge and you cut it so within a half inch or a three quarters of an inch of the top and than you 39:00took a cap wedge stuck over it and hammered it in and tightened it up. You could take that same cap wedge by hand and the ground shield around this 7200 [unclear] that you could whack that seventy-two hundred cable with that cap wedge and you could shut that whole mine down. Everything but the area, that's how sensitive those things are supposed to work. And a rock fall with thousands of tons on it could fall on it down here at Sterns Company and it would keep on running.

REYNOLDS: Uh, was Peabody a union mine?

HINES: Peabody was a union mine, it has been for years and years and years.

REYNOLDS: Why do they succeed and other mines don't?

HINES: Because, they believe ...

REYNOLDS: About the unions?

HINES: Yeah, Peabody Coal Company is, is actually at that time, I don't know 40:00where they stand now, but at that time in the, in the mid 70s they was the worlds largest single producer, coal producer. And what I mean by that, they was, they a sent a, uh the only thing they produced was coal. They didn't get into cooper like Kenny Cop Cooper, you know US Steel got into a, a asbestos, you know they was strictly coal. They was the single, largest single most coal producer in the United States, Peabody Coal Company was. And may still be, but they're, still union they sign a contract just as soon as the contracts due even now. Peabody Coal Company believed that a man was a human; he didn't believe that a man was an animal like a lot of these scab places, these dog holes. It's a world of difference, and they succeeded, they succeeded. Blue Diamond Coal 41:00Company now is broke, Blue Diamond Coal Company now is nothing more than just a uh, uh, uh fly by night coal operator trying to hog something out of human [unclear]. They're broke

REYNOLDS: Do you think the strike burned them?

HINES:I think whenever, I think whenever you take the attitude that people are 42:00trash, they're there for your benefit and your, your greed and your profit in the end you'll lose. Like J.C. over here I'm going to predict this and the future will tell you and your essay that your writing or you're a your, your paper that your writing here on this it will tell and future years will tell. My predictions are J.C. Agnew, and ten years from today, that owns the tent factory that's on strike over here right now the way he's doing these people. Ten years from today J.C. will be a broke man, he will be, be a broke man. We'll find out.

REYNOLDS: What would you say the final word on the strike, thinking about all the things that happened, that Sterns [cough] I know you've had a lot a time to think about varies things that went on down there. What was the lasting impression?

HINES: Well, I could say it reaffirmed my faith in the working class people. 43:00They are the back bone. You know what the most famous speech that was ever made was made by a President of many, many years ago in the 1860s before and during the Civil, it was Abraham Lincoln, Even though he was Republican, but his campaign speech said that "if I am elected president of the United State, that I will strive to see that the working man receives the biggest portion of the fruits of his labor, if not all of them". Now what he meant by that in my opium, [cough] what he meant by that if I worked you at a job and I'm setting here at the house realizing the company has no profit now, they have to have profits 44:00right? But if I'm working you and I'm giving you five dollars an hour and I'm charging this little man over here twenty dollars an hour for you labor he's paying me and I'm paying you. I'm profiting fifteen dollars and hour and I can buy you a few friends just for five dollars an hour at that and I'm making ten dollars on your labor. So, in a essence your making 50% of your labor is what you're making. Now his feelings was on that was that he would strive to see you that you received the biggest portion if not all the fruits of your labor, and that's what he meant by that. In my opinion it was the best speech that was ever made by any politician, you know the Gettysburg address is fine, address is fine but the Working Man is the backbone of this land.


REYNOLDS: I would like to thank you for your time today, and I appreciate finally catching up, I'm glad I got to talk to you.

HINES: Well I want to apologize I know, I know we had a time getting together here. I want to apologize for my schedule and, and causing you all the problems. Uhm, as I told you before it wasn't deliberate. Because son, I if I could help you in your education or anybody's education [cough]

REYNOLDS: Sure appreciate it.

HINES: anything, but I'll just apologize for myself for being so hard to come up with. But you can, I'll give your permission right here on your type to use this in anyway you see fit to better help mankind.

REYNOLDS: Thank you.

HINES: You're welcome.