Source: WV MetroNews
April 29, 2020
CHARLESTON, W.Va.– The United Mine Workers of America is livid over a request by Consol Energy to have the assets of bankrupt coal producer Murray Energy liquidated.
Consol, one of Murray’s largest creditors, recently asked a bankruptcy judge to change the company’s Chapter 11 filing in which they are attempting to reorganize to a Chapter 7 filing which would require the immediate liquidation of all asserts.
“This is one of the most outrageous things I have ever seen a coal company do,” said United Mine Workers of American President Cecil Roberts in a statement about the action. “And that is saying a lot.”
Consol claims in its filing that Murray is mismanaged to the point that it will never be able to reorganize and should be liquidated immediately. But the union and Roberts claim if that were to happen, it could put nearly 2,000 coal miners out of work and leave them with no options for healthcare in the time of a global pandemic.
“We have very strong opinions about this sort of tactic which would put our members and their families at grave risk, cutting off their health care and forcing them to look for other work at the time of a global pandemic,” Roberts said.
The UMWA recently ratified a new contract with Murray, which had the blessings of the company’s creditors and was to be honored by the new company once it emerged from bankruptcy. Consol’s motion would be that the company never emerge.
Roberts bristled at Consol’s action and noted while he couldn’t bring the union’s normal pressure to bare due to the social distancing restrictions, he added the organization would not stand silent in the process.
“We cannot do what we would normally do, which is to get several thousand people out in front of Consol’s shiny headquarters and say a few things in protest,” Roberts said. “But that does not mean we will be silent about this. It seems clear that Consol’s plan puts people’s lives and livelihoods at risk. We will not stand idly by while it threatens our members, their families and their communities.”
Written by: Chris Lawrence