UMWA says Murray WARN notice is routine

Source: The Herald Dispatch

June 26, 2020


Murray Energy filed a new Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act notice Friday as part of the federal bankruptcy process, but officials with the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) said it is not likely to lead to layoffs.

“At the end of the bankruptcy process, Murray Energy as we know it will cease to exist and new owners will take over the company,” UMWA International President Cecil Roberts said in a press release. “The new owners will immediately rehire the employees, but since they will technically be transferring to a new employer, Murray Energy is required under the WARN Act to issue a notice.”

This is the third WARN Act notice Murray Energy has issued as a result of changing dates for completion of the bankruptcy. Each time the date changes, the company must issue a new WARN Act notice.

“I do not anticipate any layoffs of UMWA members as a result of this WARN Act notice or change of ownership,” Roberts added. “Indeed, the new owners have agreed in writing — as part of a collective bargaining agreement our members ratified in April — that they will rehire UMWA members when they take ownership of the company.”

Murray’s creditors will become the owners of the new company that emerges from the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process. They are mostly Wall Street banks and investment houses.

In May, six Murray Energy Corp. subsidiaries filed WARN notices covering 2,453 employees in West Virginia, which included operations in Ohio, Marshall and Marion counties.

Murray Energy, the largest privately held coal company in the U.S., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October 2019 while facing more than $8 billion in potential and actual legacy liabilities and $2.7 billion in outstanding funded debt obligations.

Murray Energy acknowledged in June it had defaulted on its $440 million bankruptcy financing package, setting up a pivotal month for the nation’s largest private coal producer as it aims to leave Chapter 11 amid a market downturn exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Telephone and email messages seeking comment from Murray Energy were not immediately returned.


Written by: Fred Pace