CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
H.Res. 752 is expected to be considered on the floor of the House on Tuesday, November 3, 2009, under a motion to suspend the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. The resolution was introduced by Rep. Deborah Halvorson (D-IL) on September 17, 2009, and referred to the Committee on Education and Labor, which took no official action.
H.Res. 752 would express the sense that the House of Representatives:
• "Honors the 259 miners lost in the tragedy known as the Great Cherry Mine Disaster on its 100th anniversary;
• "Supports the important safety measures that were enacted as a resulted of this terrible incident and others around the country like it; and
• "Recognizes the important role organized labor has played in protecting the physical and economic security of workers in the United States."
According to the resolution's findings, the St. Paul Mine Company began operation of a mine in Cherry, Illinois, in 1905. In 1909 an electrical outage caused mine workers to use lanterns and torches for light. A torch caught fire 500 feet into the mine, and the fire quickly spread throughout the mine. To stop the spread of the fire, two of the mine shafts were closed, causing miners to become trapped in the mine with the toxic gasses from the fire. 259 miners, including 4 children, were killed in the ensuing tragedy, which became known as the Great Cherry Mine Disaster. Some Members may make note that the findings also state, "United Mine Workers have been an important and consistent ally in promoting workplace safety and fair wages and compensation for United States workers, as has organized labor as a whole."