FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JUNE 30, 2023
NLRB judge finds Warrior Met Coal guilty of unfair labor practices, orders company to bargain in good faith
[Brookwood, Ala.] National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Administrative Law Judge Melissa M. Olivero yesterday issued a ruling that found Warrior Met Coal violated national labor law in its bargaining conduct before, during, and after the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) nearly two-year strike. Judge Olivero ordered the company to bargain in good faith immediately.
“We appreciate this ruling because it validates everything we have been saying about this company for more than two years now,” UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said today. “This company caused this strike by not bargaining in good faith, it extended the strike for nearly two years by not bargaining in good faith, and it continues to violate the law today.”
Judge Oliverio’s ruling stated: “Respondent has engaged in unfair labor practices within the meaning of Section 8(a)(5) and (1) of the National Labor Relations Act,” upholding the UMWA’s long-held contention that the company refusal to bargain in good faith precipitated and prolonged the strike.
“Warrior Met’s refusal to bargain in good faith has caused so much hardship to so many workers, families, and communities for the last two years,” Roberts said. “The company spent millions on New York lawyers, a Hollywood public relations firm, extra security, and more. It lost more than a billion dollars in potential sales over the course of the strike because of lost production at a time of unprecedented high prices for metallurgical coal. None of it had to happen.
“I want to commend our bargaining team, UMWA International Secretary-Treasurer Brian Sanson, District 20 Vice President Larry Spencer, District Representative James Blankenship, and our General Counsel Kevin Fagan for their perseverance at the bargaining table despite Warrior Met’s refusal to bargain in good faith. They had to put up with a lot.
“Warrior Met’s intent, from the very beginning of this strike, was to grind the workers down by whatever means necessary, up to and including violations of the law,” Roberts said. “And now Warrior Met has been found guilty. It must remedy this, by bringing all the workers back it has illegally fired or denied a right to return to their jobs.
“And it must come to the bargaining table with a new, lawful attitude, one that recognizes the workers’ collective right to bargain for better pay and working conditions,” Roberts said. “We have been saying for more than two years now that we have been ready to sit down and bargain an agreement in good faith with Warrior Met. It should now be clear to all that the company never intended to do any such thing. Perhaps now, it finally will.”