“If the rank and file membership don’t take over their local unions and elect officers got some guts, they might as well throw up their hands and quit, for they got nothin’ now, not like it was when we organized.” — Disabled UMWA miner
In 1970, W.A. (Tony) Boyle was president of the United Mine Workers of America, under indictment for misuse of union funds and suspected of the murder of the most outspoken advocate for reform of the union, Jock Yablonski, as well as his family. UMWA 1970: House Divided intercuts a speech given by Boyle at a miners’ rally in Big Stone Gap, Virginia in the summer of 1970 with scenes at a mine and interviews with working and disabled miners. The film contrasts Boyle’s statements with those of the reform movement then growing among the union rank and file. UMWA 1970 will be useful for classes in U.S. and labor history, and of interest to anyone who wants to see internecine union conflict up close.
Screenings & Festivals
Museum of Modern Art and Walker Art Center