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May 14th, First West Virginia Labor History Association Film Festival with special guests Davitt McAteer and Jack Spadaro
posted on:     April 22, 2005    10:10 pm ET

[Charleston, WV] The West Virginia Labor History Association will be sponsoring the First West Virginia Labor History Film Festival on Saturday, May 14th, at 7 PM. The event is taking place in cooperation with The South Charleston Museum at the La Belle Theater. Davitt McAteer and Jack Spadaro will be the special guests. Mr. McAteer will introduce the film he produced and directed, Monongah, 1907. Jack Spadaro will introduce a film made by Robert Salyer of Appalshop - Sludge, which will have its official world premiere in Whitesburg, Kentucky in June. Mr. Spadaro is profiled in the film which is about the Martin County, Kentucky sludge spill in 2000. Dr. Fred Barkey, the president of the West Virginia Labor History Association, will introduce the two speakers and give a brief history of the association. Admission is free.

Mr. McAteer, a 1970 graduate of the West Virginia University College of Law, is the Vice President of Sponsored Programs Wheeling Jesuit University, Legal Counsel to Wheeling Jesuit University, and Director of the Coal Impoundment Project for Wheeling Jesuit University. In the 1970s, he worked on two major pieces of federal legislation -- the Surface Mine Control and Reclamation Act and the Federal Mine Safety & Health Act. From February 1994 until December 2000, he served as Assistant Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton. As Assistant Secretary of Labor, he directed and managed the Mines Safety and Health Administration division of the United States Department of Labor. In 1986 he produced and directed Monongah, 1907, a 29 minute documentary on the history of U.S. laws protecting coal miners, using the Monongah, a 1907 disaster where 362 miners. The film was made as a result of Research for a book he wrote titled "Coal Mine Health and Safety - The Case of West Virginia" (1973). He is writing a book on the Monongah mining disaster that he hopes to complete in the near future.

Jack Spadaro was the director of the National Mine Health and Safety Academy. Mr. Spadaro began his career as a mining engineer shortly before the Buffalo Creek Disaster on February 26, 1972. During the next 34 years he worked in various capacities in the industry, working on coal waste dam safety and regulating strip mining. He was appointed by Davitt McAteer to be the director of the world-famous mine safety academy. In 2000 Mr. Spadaro was removed from office, resulting in his forced retirement on October 1, 2004. Sixty Minutes, the New York Times, and many print and other media organizations claimed that Mr. Spadaro was a "casualty" of the Bush Administration's war on environmental regulations.

The Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and other environmentalist fought hard to keep Mr. Spadaro in his position, and one support rally is shown in the film Sludge.

Mr. Spadaro was named the WV Mountaineer of the Year 2003 by Graffiti magazine and received the $ 5,000 Jenco Award in 2004 from the Jenco Foundation, based in Athens, Ohio. This foundation was created by Beirut hostage Terry Anderson in honor of his friend, Father Jenco, who was active in helping Appalachians.

The West Virginia Labor History Association is a group of people in the state who are interested in promoting awareness of the state's labor history. During the next few months they will be working with Teamster's Local 175 in South Charleston to create a West Virginia Labor Hall of Fame. They will also be publishing and distributing a map showing key labor history events around the state.

The West Virginia Labor History Association in cooperation with The South Charleston Museum presented on August 28, 2004 the local premiere of Mine Wars, a major new documentary film about the history of the Southern West Virginia mine wars. Filmmaker Bill Richardson from Williamson, Mingo County, presented Mine Wars along with his 2002 film, Feud, on the Hatfields and McCoys. Almost 300 people attended this event.

This event that led to a year long series of films being shown by The South Charleston Museum. Steve Fesenmaier, a board member of the South Charleston Museum and the West Virginia Labor History Association, is the programmer for this event and other film showings at The South Charleston Museum.

During the last nine months The Museum has become the premiere showcase of new films made in and about West Virginia, receiving national and statewide praise. For more information visit the Museum Website.

May 14th, 7pm - free
South Charleston Museum
311 D Street, South Charleston, WV 25303
304.744.9711

Contact: Steve Fesenmaier
West Virginia Labor History Association
907 Churchill Circle
Charleston, WV 25314
304-345-5850
mystery12@charter.net




 

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