Interview with Joseph A. Scopa, July 24, 1986

Joseph Scopa, an Italian immigrant who came to the United States in 1938, talks extensively about his experiences as a coal miner in Lynch, Kentucky, and his fight against injustice in eastern Kentucky. He discusses his involvement in establishing the U.M.W.A. as the bargaining agent for coal miners in District 19. Scopa relates his efforts to democratize the U.M.W.A. itself, including his support for Joseph Yablonski and then Arnold Miller for president of the union. He persuaded Miller to make a personal appearance at Evarts, Kentucky, in District 19, despite Miller's trepidation because of the violence perpetrated against members of the Miners for Democracy. Scopa discusses the threats made against him and his wife by supporters of Tony Boyle, illegal kickbacks of union funds by Boyle supporters, and illegal tactics used by Albert Pass, then president of District 19. Scopa also talks about his fight against a coal company operating near his home in Totz. After several years of litigation, he and other residents forced the coal operator to move his beltlines across the river, thereby eliminating the dirt and dust generated by the coal company's operation. Scopa discusses his involvement in establishing a Community Action Group to clean up Totz, and discrimination against immigrants in Lynch.

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