By William Thornton
June 19, 2022 - The United Mine Workers of America is committing “all necessary resources” to continue a strike that has dragged on for almost 15 months against Warrior Met Coal in Alabama.
Delegates to the UMWA’s Constitutional Convention last week unanimously passed a resolution pledging support “for the Union to be victorious in its struggle against Warrior Met.”
According to the union, this “unleashes every available avenue the union has at its disposal to continue the struggle for justice and win a fair contract.”
Members of the United Mine Workers of America are marching in New York City Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021, in support of the ongoing strike against Warrior Met Coal in Alabama.
The strike, which began April 1, 2021, affects roughly 900 miners in Brookwood, in what is believed to be the longest work stoppage in Alabama history.
The old agreement with the union was negotiated as Warrior Met emerged from the 2016 bankruptcy proceedings of the former Walter Energy. Union members say they made numerous concessions at that time in pay, benefits, holidays, overtime and in other areas to keep the company going and get it out of bankruptcy. Those concessions, they say, have not been restored in subsequent offers from the company.
“This is a tremendous show of support and solidarity for the strikers at Warrior Met by every UMWA local union,” UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said in a statment. “And it was followed by an equally unanimous statement of support for the strikers by the national AFL-CIO at its convention this week. The entire labor movement is engaged and taking financial and logistical action to win this strike.”
According to Roberts, the UMWA has received $2.5 million in donations from other unions and individuals into its the Strike Aid Fund, which benefits striking members.
“Other donations are coming,” Roberts said. “Make no mistake, we will continue to have the resources to win this struggle.”
Roberts also announced that negotiations between the company and the union will resume next week.
“It’s well past time for the company to get off the dime here and get this settled. We are ready to meet all day, every day until we do just that,” he said.
In a quarterly earnings report in May, Warrior Met reported $6.7 million in expenses directly attributable to the UMWA strike in 2022, with additional idle mine expenses of $3 million. According to Warrior Met Coal’s quarterly reports, the company last year incurred $21.4 million in non-recurring expenses directly attributable to the strike for security and other expenses, and $33.9 million in idle mine expenses.
In May, the investment stewardship team of BlackRock, Warrior Met’s largest shareholder, recommended the company put an end to the strike, stating its belief that this would “be in the best economic interests of our clients...”