There is a project in New York City that involves digging a new water tunnel, carrying water from upstate N.Y,. to consumers in N.Y. City. You can get a short story of this engineering marvel, here.
The men doing the digging, call themselves ‘Sandhogs’. The story states that they are paid in excess of $100,000.00 per year.
Does anyone know what the prevailing wage is for those miners that lost their lives in West Virginia? I’m betting that it’s not even close…sadly.
It depend on what you mean by “close”. I heard on NPR this afternoon that starting salaries for West Virginia miners are about $50,000, quickly rise to about $75,000, and max out at a little less than 100k. West Virginia has the lowest average income in the U.S. and the cost of living is very low so miners there do extremely well (much better than NYC with cost of living factored in). It is not a popular job but any able bodied male could probably land a job in it if he chose.
I visited a coal mine in Pennsylvania a few months ago. I was told that the average salary for someone with a could years experience was in the $50k to $70k range, and with overtime (which was pretty much inevitable in the line of work), some workers could bust into six figures. It is a unionized mine.
Looking at your site, however, the mine I visited was way different than the sandhogs in the story. I saw a longwall mine in action: instead of blasting and burrowing into coal seams, there was an enormous deli slicer-type machine that would shave off huge strips of coal. I’m no expert in these matters, but I’d bet that working with explosives day in and day out (as those sandhogs do) is substantially more dangerous than a longwall coal mine, and therefore higher pay could be expected.
(To my understanding, I don’t believe that the mine in WV was a longwall mine… I forget the name for the kind of mine that works to extract smaller coal seams)