Deaths in the nation's mines rose from 36 in 2012 to 42 in 2013, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) reported.
On December 19, 1907, 239 workers died in a coal mine explosion. This same day in 1984, 27 workers at Wilberg Mine died in Orangeville, Utah.
A federal bankruptcy judge in St. Louis has left Patriot Coal's retirees - whom it inherited from Peabody Energy and Arch Coal - high and dry, and said Patriot could dump its union contracts, too.
The nation's largest coal companies created the spin-off company, Patriot Coal, in a scheme to rob thousands of union members and beneficiaries of their pensions and health care benefits.
Reece will be forever known for the song, "Which Side Are You On?" written in 1931 during the "Harlan County War" strike in which her husband, Sam Reece, was an organizer.
Mine Workers Pres. Cecil Roberts adds the agency was also victim of lack of funds and mis-directed priorities imposed by the GOP Bush government in the years before the blast.
Unionization victories at Piedmont Airlines, a labor/Democratic step against climate change, a federal push to shut unsafe mines - and more.