Women reentered the American coal mines in 1973 and quickly made an impact in the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) as union members struggled with the meaning and future of union democracy. Although existing scholarship has pointed to the end of union democracy in the UMWA after the decline of the Miners for Democracy in 1973–74, this article argues that newly hired women miners took up the mantle of union democracy and, in the process of forging space for themselves in the workplace and the union, became leaders among the UMWA's rank and file as workers attempted to cope with neoliberal transformation across the 1970s.

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