CBS Evening News for Monday, Mar 01, 1976
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(Studio) 1500 West Virginia coal miners stage wildcat strike to protest inadequate protection from effects of black lung disease. UMW (United Mine Workers of America, International Union) says strikes confined to Boone and Wyoming counties. UMW (United Mine Workers of America, International Union) promises to fight for better health measures in bill to be debated in House.
REPORTER: Walter Cronkite
(West Virginia) Hard for victims of black lung disease to get disability payments under 1969 program. 600,000 claims filed; 40% rejected. Govt. spends $1 billion per year [MAN - says case in federal court after 6 years] [2nd MAN - retired in `74; has heard nothing about benefits.] [3rd MAN - says red tape would stop if bill automatically conferred benefits.] Under proposed legislature, miners with 30 years service would be entitled to full benefits. Miners with less time would be eligible at 1st sign of disease. [New Kensington, Pennsylvania, miners clinic, Dr. Dan. FINE - has seen grossly disabled miners who can't meet criteria of present bill.] New bill would make coal companies pay black lung claims with trust fund from taxes on tonnage. General Accounting Office says effectiveness of dust monitoring questionable. [Bureau of Mines dust control researcher Welby COURTNEY - says hard to tell exact dust levels.] House opponents call bill costly welfare plan for miners; prospects of Ford veto high.
REPORTER: Chris Kelley