The revamp will meet the conditions of changing workplaces, extend labor's reach, and shift its emphasis within the federation to more inter-union and regional cooperation.
"There is a war on workers in this country." Instead of "brass knuckles and gun thugs, corporate lawyers" are helping Peabody rob retirees.
The nation's largest coal companies created the spin-off company, Patriot Coal, in a scheme to rob thousands of union members and beneficiaries of their pensions and health care benefits.
On Sept. 11, 1897, thousands of coal miners ended a 10-week strike after winning an eight-hour day, semi-monthly pay, and abolition of company stores.
Reece will be forever known for the song, "Which Side Are You On?" written in 1931 during the "Harlan County War" strike in which her husband, Sam Reece, was an organizer.
Mine workers welcome Obama's plan to make it easier in cracking down on coal companies that are constant safety violators. However specific rules need to be enforced in order to further erode the systemic problem, unions say.
Standing near the portal of the Massey Energy mine where at least 25 miners have died in a deadly explosion, Joe Main, assistant labor secretary for Mine Safety and Health, vowed to "turn over every rock" to get to the bottom of the cause of the April 5 tragedy.