Drumheller Valley Coal Mining Community Group Interview (re: 1930s to 1970s)

Date:  2003
Location: Drumheller
Profiles: Lydia Husak is the daughter of a Drumheller Valley coal miner.
Elsie Kushnir is the daughter of a Drumheller Valley coal miner.
Victor Avramenko worked in 2 Drumheller Valley coal mines in the 1950s.
Jan Tarasoff is the daughter of a Drumheller Valley coal miner.
These four interviewees recall events from the 1930s to the 1970s regarding work and life in the Drumheller Valley coal mines and community. They recall mining accidents and deaths, the precarity of work availability, how people survived when work was scarce, how they supplemented mine income with other jobs and home-produced foods, the impact of mine shutdowns, the poor quality of housing, and bias against Eastern European people. They also recall the fightback against exploitation of miners, including union and Communist Party organizing, strikes, and Mayday marches, which, in turn, led to employer blacklisting of radicals, and a schism in the Valley communities between radicals and conservatives.
Keywords: Blacklisting of labour radicals; Coal mine strikes; Coal mine shutdowns; Communist Party; Drumheller Valley; Eastern European workers: discrimination against; Mining communities—living conditions; Precarious labour; United Mineworkers of America; Women in coal mining communities.
Transcript: Download PDF

See also: Coal Mining; Health and Safety