UMWA statement on Mission Coal filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

OCTOBER 16, 2018

[TRIANGLE, VA] United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil E. Roberts issued the following statement today:

“Mission Coal’s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection yesterday in Alabama makes it the second coal company in two weeks to seek such protection from the courts. Once again, a company is going into court seeking to shed its debts and restructure itself on the backs of its workers and retirees.
“Mission seeks to throw out the collective bargaining agreement for active workers and eliminate its obligations to retirees who put their lives and their health on the line every day, working underground so that the owners of those mines could make billions of dollars. Neither the miners nor the retirees did anything to cause this bankruptcy, but they will be expected to give up the most nevertheless.

“We have hired counsel in Alabama to assist our legal team in the bankruptcy proceedings. We are sending letters to every active and retired member at all Mission locations explaining what to expect in these proceedings, and we will be holding meetings with them in the near future. We unfortunately have gained a lot of experience in bankruptcy over the last six years. We know what is coming and what it is going to take to fight this battle.

“Lastly, I want to make sure that the UMWA’s message to Mission Coal is crystal clear: We will do whatever we need to do to preserve these jobs as union jobs, and we will never stop fighting to see that our retired members get the benefits they have earned.”

Note: Mission Coal operates two mines, the Oak Grove mine in Bessemer, Alabama and the Pinnacle mine in Pineville, West Virginia. Both mines have preparation plants attached to them. The Pinnacle mine is preparing to cease operations soon, the Oak Grove mine is expected to continue to operate during the bankruptcy proceedings.