February 8, 1989
About 5,000 Polish coal miners pressed ahead with a strike, apparently defying appeals by two emissaries sent by Solidarity leader Lech Walesa. The miners said they stopped work shortly after midnight at the Belchatow mine, 90 miles southwest of Warsaw, after talks with management broke down. The strikers have demanded more pay but said they did not want to disrupt round-table talks in which the government is seeking a deal with the banned Solidarity union to help solve Poland's economic
February 7, 1999 |
Second-generation miner Jerzy Gacek and his family lived the traditional Silesian coal-mining life for many years. He went below ground every day; his wife stayed home with the children; work was hard, but the pay was good. Now, as Poland struggles to become more competitive in a global economy, Gacek, 48, hopes that the restructuring of the nation's coal industry won't catch up with him before he gets a miner's pension.
April 14, 1987 |
A yellow smog hangs over the sooty snow of Poland's industrial heartland, carrying noxious dust and gases to the gaily painted apartment blocks that rise among the coal mines, steel plants and power stations. "If you wash your windows on Monday, on Tuesday they're dirty already, and on Wednesday you can't even see through them," a woman told a visitor. The dirt this woman can wash away may be the least of her problems.
May 8, 1990 |
It was a dark night in a pine forest, the Baltic Sea a faint murmur on a gravel beach a quarter-mile away. Three men--amber hunters--were out checking on their digs in the woods. Leszek, Krzysiek and Andrzej, young advocates of unbridled private enterprise, were moving with a certain stealth. It was vault-dark, and they carried no flashlights, but the way was familiar. They were on the lookout for police.