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On The Road In Tuscaloosa

Lunch in a Coal Mine

Mid-way through "Shift Change," host Will Durst visits a workplace in Tuscaloosa, Alabama: Jim Walter Resources Mine #5, the deepest vertical shaft coal mine in North America. Rather than a canary, Will brings his pet goldfish, Mikey, to work. To get to there, he takes an elevator two-fifths of a mile straight down into the earth, followed by a half hour-ride to where the jobs are and quips, "And you think you've got a rough commute!"

When it's time for lunch, Durst finds the dinner hall, which consists of a bench in a hole. He's joined by UMW members Ronnie Crosby, Ronnie Babb, Leroy Harris, Shirley Hyche and Art Schroeder.

 
"How do you normally eat down here?" asks Durst. "Most of the time I like to order out. Get 'em to call a pizza in or something," says Ronnie Babb."

"Yeah, if they don't get it to you in thirty minutes, it's free," says Durst.

A day at work in the coal reveals that even in the most challenging and potentially dangerous workplaces, you find people with a sense of humor.

Livelyhood's first one-hour special, "Shift Change," aired on PBS in fall 1997. For information on how to order the show, call 510-268-WORK.

TO LAS VEGAS | TO LINTON, ND | TO TUSCALOOSA
TO CHICAGO | TO SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO

These images captured by the Apple QuickTake 200 digital camera.

 

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