FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JULY 1, 2021
UMWA marks beginning of fourth month of Warrior Met coal strike
[MCCALLA, AL.] The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) marked the beginning of the fourth month of its strike at Warrior Met Coal last night, with hundreds of union members, their families and supporters rallying here to express their firm resolve to win a fair and reasonable contract before returning to work.
“If Warrior Met is waiting for our members to quit and run back to work, then the company needs to quit waiting,” UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said. “It’s not going to happen. I know we are going to win this strike, because we are never going to quit.”
Roberts reiterated his call for higher-level negotiations to resolve the dispute, saying, “I have made myself available from day one to be part of this collective bargaining process, and Warrior Met knows that. But so far, they have not accepted that offer.
“The team the company has at the bargaining table either wants to continue to punish the workers and deny them what they’ve earned over the last five years, or they just do not have the authority to resolve this with a fair and decent contract. I am prepared to talk with the CEO or members of the Board of Directors at any time and at any place. Let’s get this resolved.”
Warrior Met could not have emerged from bankruptcy in 2016 without agreement by the UMWA workforce to severe sacrifices in pay, health care benefits, time off from work and more. The workers ratified the contract at that time to preserve their jobs with the understanding that a successful Warrior Met would reward them for their sacrifices. Despite realizing $1.1 billion in cost savings from the workers over the past five years and piling up revenues in excess of $4.3 billion in that timeframe, the company has refused to do so.
“What Warrior Met has offered up is just a tiny fraction of what the workers gave up five years ago,” Roberts said. “But these workers are tired of being mistreated on the job. They are tired of being forced to work on holidays and missing time with their families. They are tired of being tired after working 12-hour shifts six and sometimes seven days a week. Warrior Met knows it is exploiting these workers, and its time for it to stop.”
The UMWA continues to pay strike benefits and health care costs for members, as well as distributing money that has been donated to the union’s Strike Aid Fund. Roberts reported to the members at the rally that the union has distributed $4.3 million to the strikers during the three months of the strike: $3.1 million in direct strike benefits and nearly $700,000 in health care costs from the UMWA Selective Strike Fund; and $500,000 to members from donations to the Strike Aid Fund.
“I am overwhelmed by the generosity and solidarity shown by other unions and individuals who have contributed to the Strike Aid Fund,” Roberts said. “The United Food and Commercial Workers alone have contributed $200,000 to that Fund, and other unions have sent significant donations as well. Every dime of the contributions to that fund goes directly to the strikers and their families. We are so appreciative of every donation.”