Labor & Employment

Labor organizing has a storied history in Appalachia. One of the first permanent unions, the United Mine Workers (UMW), founded in 1890, actively organized in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and of course West Virginia. The first collective-bargaining agreement between coal operators and the UMW was executed in 1898, following a union-victorious strike of 1897. But W.Va. was not a part of that agreement because coal operators in W.Va. were reluctant to bargain. Eventually, such friction resulted in two infamous and historic labor uprisings: The Matewan Massacre (1920) and the Battle of Blair Mountain (1921).

Labor strife continues to riddle Appalachia to this day. Energy remains a significant industry in Appalachia with its deep union roots. As Appalachia continues to experience deep recession, coal operators and other energy companies have successfully portrayed the struggle for jobs and a healthy environment as diametrically opposed and mutually exclusive. The Appalachian Justice Initiative is dedicated to contesting this narrative and providing a counter-narrative whereby a healthy environment is compatible with a growing economy and good jobs. This AJI work will use human rights, jurisprudential, socio-economic,  political, and other frameworks for better understanding labor problems. We are committed to transforming the Appalachian labor landscape through scholarly and policy-driven approaches.

Professor Lofaso discusses why worker's rights should involve natural human rights in West Virginia Record, June 13, 2017
via West Virginia Record

Workers’ Rights as Natural Human Rights
Anne Marie Lofaso | 71 U. Miami L. Rev. 565 (2017)

Why The U.S. Coal Industry And Its Jobs Are Not Coming Back
James M. Van Nostrand | Yale Environment 360 (Dec. 1, 2016)

Professor Lofaso submits written testimony to U.S. House Subcommittee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions regarding H.R. 3459, Protecting Local Business Opportunity Act
on September 29, 2015 | via Congressional archives

We Are in this Together: The Rule of Law, the Commerce Clause, and the Enhancement of Liberty Through Mutual Aid, January 2013
Anne Marie Lofaso | in “Toward a More Perfect Union: A Progressive Blueprint for the Second Term, American Constitution Society for Law and Policy”

What We Owe Our Coal Miners
Anne Marie Lofaso | 5 Harv. L. & Pol’y Rev. 87 (2011)

Promises, Promises: Assessing the Obama Administration’s Record on Labor Reform
Anne Marie Lofaso | 20 New Labor Forum 65 (2011)

Calling for Comparative and Interdisciplinary Study of Coal Mine Safety
Anne Marie Lofaso | Admin. & Reg. L. News (ABA Publishing, 2010)

Approaching Coal Mine Safety from a Comparative Law and Interdisciplinary Perspective
Anne Marie Lofaso | 111 W.Va. L. Rev. 1 (2008)

Here We Go Again: The Not-so-fun Rollercoaster Ride Known as Labor Oscillation
Anne Marie Lofaso | ACSBlog, July 28, 2017