Saturday, September 3, 2011

Saturday morning tunes: Saint Peter, don'tcha call me, 'cause I cain't go

The authorship of "Sixteen Tons" is subject to some dispute; but it was written in the 1930s or 1940s about life in the Appalachian coal mines of the 19th and early 20th century.

Among the many tools that mine owners had to keep miners under their thumbs (not counting local police, union-busting goons, and Pinkerton men -- see here), there was the company store. Workers were paid in vouchers, not dollars, redeemable only at the store owned by -- surprise! -- the mine owners themselves. Not only were the store prices usually inflated, but the scrip was useless anywhere else, which meant miners couldn't accumulate savings and move in search of better work.

If you're reading this in FB Notes, you'll need to click View Original Post to see the video. 

 Labor Day is brought to you by the people who brought you the forty-hour week, child labor laws, retirement funds, and medical insurance.

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