McANDREWS, Ky.--A 76-day-old strike against Pittston Coal Group spread to Kentucky today, while a wildcat walkout by more than 20,000 miners in support of the Pittston employees expanded to a seventh state.
Terry Varney, spokesman for a United Mine Workers local, said production stopped at Eastern Coal Corp.'s three mines as of 12:01 a.m. today. Eastern is a Pittston subsidiary. About 700 people work at the mines, Varney said.
The union had predicted the Kentucky strike after 1,600 Pittston miners walked off the job in April in Virginia and West Virginia.
More than 20,000 UMW members Sunday were on a sympathy strike begun June 12. Unlike the Pittston walkout, the sympathy strike in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Indiana and Kentucky lacked official union backing.
This morning, miners in Ohio joined the sympathy strike. Workers at three Southern Ohio Coal Co. mines employing 1,100 union miners didn't show up for the midnight or morning shifts, said Terry Trimper, a spokeswoman for American Electric Power Co., Southern Ohio's parent company.