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Strike deadline approaches at Foundation subsidiaries, talks finally restart

date: 
April 3, 2007

For Immediate Release

Contact: Phil Smith, 703-208-7241

Negotiations finally resumed today, after a three-day delay, between the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) and negotiators for three Foundation Coal Company mines as a strike deadline of 12:01 am tomorrow morning loomed.
 
UMWA negotiators have been available and ready to meet with Foundation personnel to continue good faith negotiations since March 29, 2007, however the companies left the bargaining table on March 30 and would not resume meeting with the UMWA negotiating committee until today.
 
"It's truly unfortunate that the companies would not meet our request to engage in around-the-clock negotiations, if need be, to avert a work stoppage that no one desires," said UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts. "The situation has become so bad that the union was forced to file another set of unfair labor practice (ULP) charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) yesterday." The ULP's charge the companies with refusing to bargain with the union.
 
Roberts also addressed the previous set of ULP charges the UMWA filed with the NLRB, which charged the companies with providing only limited responses to the union's requests for information. "The UMWA sent the Foundation subsidiaries requests for information on December 22, 2006. We did not receive responses to those requests until March 27, 2007, over three months later and less than a week before the expiration of the contract.
 
"What we received was not just inaccurate, it was deliberately misleading," Roberts said. "The companies knowingly provided inaccurate and incorrect data in response to our requests, which has hindered and delayed our ability to formulate contract proposals during these negotiations.
 
"Nevertheless, we are sitting down with the companies' negotiators today to try to reach agreements before the strike deadline," Roberts said. "It is our sincere hope that agreements can be reached that recognize the tremendous efforts of our members at all three Foundation mines where the UMWA represents the workers to make this an extremely profitable company over the last several years."
 
Roberts said that the union will hold rallies in Pennsylvania tomorrow and in Indiana on Thursday in support of the strikers, should they be on strike. "We've received hundreds of messages of support from other unions throughout the United States and the world," Roberts said. "We know that our members are fully in support of this action, if it comes to that point. With their continued solidarity and unity, we will prevail."

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