Kennedy has worked in coal mines in Alabama, Colorado, Utah, and West Virginia. She first joined the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) in 1981.
From 2003 to 2006 Kennedy was a leading militant in a union organizing battle at the Co-Op coal mine outside Huntington, Utah. The miners there, in their majority immigrants from Mexico, fought for UMWA representation to win safer working conditions, an end to abuse by the bosses, and improved wages, which were $5-$7 an hour at the time.
In winning support for the struggle and explaining its accomplishments, Kennedy and other Co-Op miners spoke before unions and other organizations in Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, California, Washington, and elsewhere across the United States, as well as in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. The battle won widespread solidarity. While the miners did not win a union local, their struggle became a powerful example for working people of how to fight, at a time when the coal bosses profit drive has put miners in unsafeand too often, fatalworking situations.
Kennedy helped build support for the Militant Fighting Fund, a labor defense effort that defeated a harassment lawsuit filed by Co-Ops owners against several of the miners, the UMWA, the Militant newspaper, and scores of supporters of the unionization drive.
Originally from Indianapolis, Kennedy joined the socialist movement in 1973 in Louisville, Kentucky. In addition to the UMWA, Kennedy has been a member of the garment workers union UNITE, United Steelworkers, and other trade unions. In St. Louis, she was the Socialist Workers Party candidate for U.S. Senate in 2000. She now lives in Newark, New Jersey.
Kennedy has been active in the fight against imperialist war, beginning with the movement against the U.S. war in Vietnam. More recently she has joined demonstrations demanding an end to the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A long-time fighter against racism and discrimination, she was part of the fight to desegregate public schools that erupted in Louisville, Kentucky, in the mid-1970s. Throughout the 1980s she promoted solidarity with the battle in South Africa to get rid of the racist apartheid system.
As a union miner, Kennedy was actively involved in the Coal Employment Project, an organization founded in 1977 that championed womens fight to get hired in the coal mines and opposed harassment on the job. She is active in the fight to defend a womans right to choose abortion, and has helped defend clinics from rightist attempts to shut them down.
Socialist Workers Party launches presidential ticket of Calero, Kennedy
Róger Calero, SWP candidate for president
SWP will seek to renew disclosure exemption
Support socialist ticket in 08!
SWP candidate across the United States
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