Mike Fitzpatrick started working at the Westmoreland coal company Paintearth mine about 16 years ago. This is also when he joined Local 955. He’s been there ever since. He has held a few different jobs including scraper operator, dozer operator, dragline oiler, and dragline operator.
“I love my job,” says Mike. “I will continue to do it until I retire. I’ve been running heavy equipment since before I was 16. It’s all I know.”
He is currently taking a dozer bid again due to the downturn of coal and reduction of staff at the mine. But he doesn’t know how much longer he will be employed.
“People need to realize the situation that’s happening in the coal mines. An awful lot of guys are going to be out of work soon.”
A few months ago, when Mike was approached by some Business Agents asking if he’d like to run for the Executive Board—one of Mike’s first thoughts was representing the workers in the coal mine. He is hoping to make some changes for the better, not just for the mining industry but for all members in general.
For Mike, the Union has always felt like family. It’s a source of stability and strength and it means having something to lean on during tough times.
“The Union has always been there for me, especially financially. But really, there’s always someone to talk to if you need it and lots of resources are available. Everyone goes through tough times and it helps to have a Union there for you.”
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