UMWA Members Ratify New Contract at Crimson Oak Grove Mine in Alabama

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MAY 7, 2024

 

UMWA Members Ratify New Contract at Crimson Oak Grove Mine in Alabama

[BIRMINGHAM, Ala.] — Members of United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) Local Unions 2133 and 8982 have ratified a new collective bargaining agreement at the Oak Grove metallurgical coal mine and Concord Preparation Plant in Jefferson County, Alabama, operated by Crimson Oak Grove Resources, LLC. After extensive negotiations, this agreement was ratified with 64.4 percent support from the membership.

“I extend my sincerest congratulations to the members of UMWA Local Unions 2133 and 8982 on this ratification,” said UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts. “Special congratulations also go to International Secretary-Treasurer Brian Sanson and our dedicated bargaining team for their tireless efforts in securing this agreement,”

The new 5-year agreement includes significant wage increases, and improvements in paid time off, with no changes to health care or other benefits. “This agreement highlights what can happen when both parties decide to engage in meaningful negotiations,” Roberts said.

“These are exactly the kind of talks we have wanted to have for years with Warrior Met Coal to secure the same kind of fair and equitable agreement with its workforce,” Roberts said. “We remain ready to engage in negotiations with Warrior Met to accomplish this goal.”

UMWA and AFL-CIO Conclude Historic Proxy Contest at Warrior Met Coal, Inc.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APRIL 26, 2024

UMWA and AFL-CIO Conclude Historic Proxy Contest at Warrior Met Coal, Inc. 
Urging Corporate Governance Reform and Respect for Freedom of Association

The United Mine Workers of America (the “UMWA”) and the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (the “AFL-CIO”) concluded a historic proxy solicitation for the Warrior Met Coal, Inc. annual meeting of stockholders on April 25, 2024. The UMWA and AFL-CIO sought stockholder support for a package of good corporate governance stockholder proposals.

The proxy solicitation follows an unfair labor practice strike between April 2021 and February 2023 by Warrior Met’s unionized mineworkers. The UMWA and the AFL-CIO estimate that if Warrior Met had maintained its 2019 pre-COVID production levels between 2021 and 2023, the additional production could have been worth $1.3 billion in revenue.

“This strike, the longest in Alabama history, could have been avoided had Warrior Met negotiated in good faith to reach an agreement with the UMWA to pay competitive wages and benefits,” said UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts. “We are concerned that Warrior Met’s management has been insulated from the costs of the strike to the company, its shareholders, and its unionized employees.”

The UMWA and AFL-CIO proxy solicitation for the annual meeting urged stockholders to adopt five proposals: Recommending that the Board of Directors adopt a “poison pill” bylaw provision; a “proxy access” bylaw provision; a “blank check” preferred stock amendment; a “golden parachute” severance agreement policy; and a third-party assessment of Warrior Met’s respect for workers’ rights.

Based on the certified vote totals provided by the Inspector of Election, a substantial percentage of voting stockholders (46%) supported the UMWA and AFL-CIO’s stockholder proposal on freedom of association and collective bargaining. This stockholder support for such a proposal is second only to a majority vote at the Starbucks Corporation in 2023.

Proxy advisors Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass Lewis both recommended a vote for this stockholder proposal. In June 2023, a National Labor Relations Board administrative law judge determined that Warrior Met had engaged in unfair labor practices by withholding requested information for contract negotiations. 

“This is a win in our eyes. This means a near majority of the shareholders believe that Warrior Met should conduct a review of its human rights and collective bargaining practices,” said Roberts. “An NLRB administrative law judge has already determined that Warrior Met has engaged in unfair labor practices, so clearly the company has work to do in this area.”

The proxy access stockholder proposal was adopted by nearly all voting stockholders (99%) after Warrior Met’s Board of Directors recommended in favor of the proposal. A majority of voting stockholders (51%) also supported a stockholder proposal recommending stockholder approval of poison pills, a management entrenchment device that can insulate corporate executives from the risk of a hostile takeover. 

A significant percentage of stockholders (22%) also voted in favor of requiring stockholder approval of the use of preferred stock for defensive purposes. The stockholder proposal requesting a vote on senior executive’s golden parachutes received 4% support after the Board of Directors responded to the proposal prior to the Annual Meeting by adopting new limits on Warrior Met’s senior executive severance benefits.

The UMWA’s and AFL-CIO’s proxy solicitation was hailed by outside observers for its innovative approach to holding Warrior Met’s management accountable. Global Proxy Watch called the proxy solicitation an “innovative tactic,” Activist Investor described the proxy solicitation as “a clever way to pursue shareholder proposals,” and the Corporate Counsel termed it a “shrewd use” of the SEC’s proxy rules.

“We will be watching how Warrior Met’s Board of Directors responds to these historic votes,” said Roberts. “In the UMWA, our motto is one day longer, one day stronger. Going forward, we will keep all our options on the table for holding the Board of Directors accountable.”

Warrior Met Coal is expected to release final vote results within four business days in a Form-8-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

###

UMWA’s Roberts comments on EPA’s new Carbon Pollution Standards

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

APRIL 25, 2024

 

UMWA’s comments on EPA’s new Carbon Pollution Standards

[TRANGLE, V.A.] Commenting on the release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new carbon emission standards for coal-fired power plants, the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil E. Roberts issued the following statement today:

“We are analyzing the potential impact of this rule on our membership and will have more to say after that analysis is completed. At first glance, however, this rule looks to set the funeral date for thermal coal mining in America for 2032 – just seven and a half years away – along with the hundreds of thousands of jobs that are directly and indirectly associated with it.

“EPA says that coal-fired power plants can continue to operate until 2039 if they co-fire with 40 percent natural gas. I do not think any will do so, due to technical and legal constraints, including the cost and availability of natural gas.

“I also have deep concerns regarding the technical feasibility of implementing fully commercial Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology by the deadline of 2032, especially given the exceedingly slow pace of the administration’s implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s funding for the construction of coal-fired CCS demonstration plants. CCS technology is simply not for prime time.

“As an organization dedicated to safeguarding the livelihoods of our members, our aim has always been and will always be ensuring that they have jobs and financial security. We recognize the importance of reducing carbon emissions. However, it is crucial to ensure that any proposed solutions are both practical and achievable within the given timeframe.

“During this entire process, we have long said that any effort to eliminate coal jobs must be matched with similar efforts to create jobs in the same communities. That is simply not happening. Despite many promises, the pace of bringing new high-quality manufacturing and production jobs to the coalfields has been glacial. I am not aware of a single dislocated coal miner who has been hired as a result of legislation or other initiatives put in place over the last several years.

“Rushing the closure of coal-fired power plants will both jeopardize the reliability of the nation’s power grid and threaten the livelihoods of our members. This frankly does not fulfill the administration’s promises to coalfield communities. We will continue to seek ways to keep our members, their families, and their communities whole.”

United Mine Workers of America Hosts Department of Labor Silica Rule Kickoff Event

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

APRIL 16, 2024

 

United Mine Workers of America Hosts Department of Labor Silica Rule Kickoff Event

[TRIANGLE, VA] – The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) hosted a Department of Labor Silica Rule Kickoff Event to celebrate the finalization of the new Silica Dust Exposure Rule. The event aimed to raise awareness about the importance of the rule in protecting the health and safety of miners across the nation.

Speaking at the event were UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts, Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su, Assistant Secretary of the Mine Health and Safety Administration Chris Williamson, NIOSH Director of Respiratory Health Division David Weissman, President of the Black Lung Association Gary Harrison, as well as members of the United Mine Workers of America and United Steelworkers.

The new silica rule significantly reduces respirable crystalline silica exposures and improves the early detection of related diseases. It also includes updates to the respiratory protection standard, ensuring that miners are adequately protected from the harmful effects of silica dust.

“The UMWA has been advocating for this rule for many years, so we are glad that the Agency has created a rule to address the rise in silica-related lung diseases in our nation’s miners (both coal and metal non-metal),” said Roberts. “Young miners in their 30s and 40s are getting lung diseases that are being exacerbated by silica dust. What was thought to be a disease of the past is coming back with a vengeance because miners are cutting more rock than ever before.  

“This is a critical step to keeping miners safe and healthy not just day to day, but for their full lifetime,” Roberts said. “Now, our focus shifts to holding mining companies accountable. Together with our labor partners, UMWA remains steadfast in our efforts to ensure strict adherence to the new legislation within the industry.”

Casey Presses Energy Company CEO About Future of Critical Cumberland Mine, Impact of Mine Closure on Miners and Families in Greene County

For Immediate Release

March 30, 2024

News of the potential closure came as a surprise to numerous stakeholders including county officials and the union representing roughly 550 miners

Cumberland Mine has been a major employer in Greene County since the 1970s and currently employs more than 700 skilled workers

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) sent a letter to Iron Senergy Owner and CEO Justin F. Thompson regarding recent reports of the company’s intention to abruptly close and seal the Cumberland Mine in Greene County, Pennsylvania. Greene County officials, the United Mine Workers of America, which represents roughly 550 Cumberland miners, and numerous other stakeholders were blindsided by reports that Iron Senergy notified the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) of its intent to shutter the highly productive facility without notifying miners or relevant stakeholders. Though Iron Senergy later backtracked in a statement, the company has yet to fully engage with local stakeholders, or explain why it did not communicate with its miners as news of the closure was being reported. Casey also pushed for answers on why Iron Senergy submitted a request for approval to close Cumberland Mine to MSHA and whether it will withdraw its closure plan and recommit to the Greene County community.

“Cumberland Mine is a cornerstone of the economy in Greene County and the surrounding area. Pennsylvania miners in this region have powered our country for generations. These miners deserve transparency about their economic future, and I hope Iron Senergy will join me in doing all we can to give them that certainty,” Senator Casey wrote.  

The full text of the letter is below and the signed PDF can be found HERE.

Casey Statement on Planned Closure of Cumberland Mine

For Immediate Release

March 28, 2024

 

Contact

Natalie Adams: 202-228-3789

 

Casey Statement on Planned Closure of Cumberland Mine

 

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) released the following statement on reports from the community that Iron Senergy is planning to close the Cumberland Mine in Greene County, PA:

 

“Cumberland Mine is not just a highly productive site, but the last unionized bituminous coal mine in Pennsylvania, providing good paying jobs for more than 550 union workers in Greene County. Iron Senergy’s decision to close the mine would be a devastating blow to the miners, their families, and the economy of the surrounding communities. It would also be a cynical attempt by the company to intimidate and undermine the United Mine Workers of America, one of the most vital unions in our Commonwealth and our Nation. I am calling on the company to work with the union to safely reopen the mine. I will continue to fight alongside the union, state and local officials, the mine workers, and their families and communities to prevent this closure and protect union jobs, which is in the best interest of our Nation.”

 

Since learning about Iron Senergy’s plans to close the plant, Senator Casey has been in close touch with the United Mine Workers of America leadership. He has also reached out to Iron Senergy and has yet to receive a response.

 

###

UMWA Announces Primary Endorsements for Federal, Statewide Races

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MARCH 28, 2024

 

UMWA announces primary endorsements for federal, statewide races

[TRIANGLE, VA.] The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) Coal Miners Political Action Committees (COMPAC) in several states have voted to endorse candidates in primary elections for federal, state, and local offices over the last several weeks. UMWA COMPAC endorsements are the culmination of a grassroots process that starts at workplaces and proceeds through several steps where rank-and-file members have input before endorsements are made.

“Our members have a full opportunity to have a direct say in COMPAC endorsements, starting in their local unions and going up from there,” UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said. “Candidates complete questionnaires, they speak to our committees, and this allows our members to fully consider and discuss the candidate’s positions on issues important to our members and their families before any endorsements are made.”

Notable endorsements made recently include the following:

 

West Virginia

Governor

Moore Capito (R)

Steve Williams (D)

U.S. House of Representatives

2nd District: Riley Moore (R)

 

Pennsylvania

U.S. Senate

Bob Casey (D)

U.S. House of Representatives

10th District, Janelle Stelson (D)

13th District: Beth Farnham (D)

14th District: Chris Dziados (D)

15th District: Zacheray Womer (D)

17th District: Chris Deluzio (D)

 

Virginia

U.S. Senate

Tim Kaine (D)

 

Arizona

U.S. Senate

Ruben Gallego (D)

 

Indiana

Governor

Jennifer McCormick (D)

 

A full list of endorsements is available at this link: https://umwa.org/policy-politics/

###

UMWA responds to Iron Senergy threat to close Cumberland mine in Greene County, PA.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MARCH 28, 2024

 

UMWA responds to Iron Senergy threat to close Cumberland mine in Greene County, PA.

[UNIONTOWN, PA.] Responding to a plan filed by Iron Senergy, Inc., to permanently close the Cumberland mine in Greene County, Pennsylvania, United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil E. Roberts issued the following statement today:

“Yesterday, the UMWA received a copy of a plan filed by Iron Senergy with the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration to permanently close its Cumberland mine. The company did not communicate with us in advance regarding this plan, and in fact, is still refusing to talk to us about it at all.

 “All underground workers at the mine were sent home on March 19, with no notice or any indication of when they may be returning to work, if at all. The company has failed to file a notice of mass layoff as required by the WARN Act and has failed to provide any information to anyone regarding the number of jobs that would be affected by this closure. Nor has it reached out regarding exploring potential ways to keep the mine open.

“There are some 550 UMWA members who work at that mine every day. In all, about 700 people work there, earning the highest wages and benefits in Greene and surrounding counties in southwestern Pennsylvania. When factoring in the jobs that support and are supported by the operation of that mine, we estimate there are between 2,500 and 3,000 jobs at risk in the local communities.

“This is a highly productive mine, with current long-term customers and significant reserves. It is making money and is not in any apparent financial distress. To abruptly put all those jobs at risk and not offer any explanation whatsoever is a slap in the face to every person in those communities. This is not how any employer should treat its workers and their families.

“The UMWA is prepared to work with management to find ways to keep this mine open and continue its essential economic contribution to Greene County and surrounding communities. We must be about the business of maintaining these jobs for our members, their families, and their communities. All we need is some indication from management that it is interested in those things as well.”

###

UMWA and AFL-CIO Launch Proxy Solicitation at Warrior Met Coal, Urge Stockholders to Hold Management Accountable After Costly Strike

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 26, 2024

 

UMWA and AFL-CIO Launch Proxy Solicitation at Warrior Met Coal, Urge Stockholders to Hold Management Accountable After Costly Strike

The United Mine Workers of America (the “UMWA”) and the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (the “AFL-CIO”) are urging stockholders of Warrior Met Coal, Inc. (NYSE: HCC) to support a package of corporate governance reforms at the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting on April 25, 2024. Warrior Met stockholders are urged to vote for five shareholder proposals on the UMWA’s and AFL-CIO’s blue proxy card which also can be voted for on the company’s white proxy card.

The proxy solicitation by the UMWA and AFL-CIO follows a costly strike by UMWA members at Warrior Met between April 1, 2021, and February 16, 2023. On June 29, 2023, an NLRB Administrative Law Judge found that Warrior Met had engaged in unfair labor practices in contract negotiations leading up to the strike. The UMWA and AFL-CIO estimate that Warrior Met had $1.3 billion less potential revenue between 2021 and 2023 compared to the company’s 2019 pre-Covid levels of production.

“In our view, Warrior Met’s poor labor relations have cost the company’s stockholders and coal miners dearly while its management has been insulated from these costs,” said UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts. “We believe that the strike could have been avoided had Warrior Met’s management negotiated in good faith to reach a mutually beneficial agreement with the UMWA and its unionized workforce.”

The UMWA and the AFL-CIO are proposing five stockholder proposals requesting that the Board of Directors take the necessary steps to adopt 1) a policy to require stockholder approval of “poison pills,” 2) a “proxy access” bylaw provision, 3) a policy to require stockholder approval of the use of “blank check” preferred stock for antitakeover purposes, 4) a policy to require stockholder approval of “golden parachutes,” and 5) an independent, third-party assessment of the company’s respect for workers’ international human rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining. 

“Having an entrenched corporate management is never a good thing for the sustainable financial performance of a company,” said Carin Zelenko, Director of Capital Strategies for the AFL-CIO. “Our stockholder proposals seek to better align the interests of Warrior Met’s management with the long-term interests of the company, its investors, and employees.”

The UMWA’s and AFL-CIO’s proxy solicitation has already resulted in change at Warrior Met. On February 9, 2024, the Board of Directors adopted new limits on its executive severance benefits after the UMWA and the AFL-CIO had notified the company of its stockholder proposal on golden parachutes. The Board of Directors has also announced that will also support the UMWA’s and AFL-CIO’s proposal for equal access to the proxy, a corporate governance best practice that many investors favor. 

“We look forward to improving Warrior Met’s corporate governance by bringing these stockholder proposals to a vote,” said Roberts.

For more information, please see the UWMA’s and AFL-CIO’s proxy statement on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s website at: https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1691303/000121465924005025/o322245defn14a.htm.

###

UMWA Announces Tentative Agreement with Crimson Oak Grove Resources, LLC in Alabama

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 22, 2024

UMWA Announces Tentative Agreement with Crimson Oak Grove Resources, LLC in Alabama. (Adger, AL)

 

[TRIANGLE, VA] The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) announced today that it has reached a tentative collective bargaining agreement with Crimson Oak Grove Resources, LLC for its mine in Adger, Alabama.

UMWA members will hear a contract explanation at a meeting early next week and then will hold a ratification vote two days later. Details of the tentative agreement will not be released until after the ratification vote.

The UMWA represents 418 workers at the mine and related facilities, which mines metallurgical grade coal used in steel making.