Over 1,000 Alabama coal miners are officially on strike.
The members of the United Mine Workers of America walked off the job at Warrior Met Coal, Inc. on Thursday evening after contract negotiations broke down.
Phil Smith is Director of Communications and Governmental Affairs for the United Mine Workers of America. He said the financial sacrifices made by the miners for the previously bankrupt company have not been honored.
“Our members gave Warrior Met that financial freedom. They made some significant sacrifices, and in the interim Warrior Met made tens of millions of dollars. It’s important to remember that most of that money is not staying in Central Alabama. Most of that money is going to the Wall Street hedge funds that own Warrior Met,” he said. “All we’re looking for at this point is fair recompense for the sacrifices we put forward.”
Smith said strikers will be supported by a fund that union members contribute to every pay period.
“That strike fund right now is at a little bit over $100 million, so we will be paying benefits to members on a biweekly basis as long as they are participating in the strike—standing on picket line duty, or doing some other sort of duty. We’re gonna be setting up food banks; we’re gonna have other operations that we need to be doing for our folks,” he said.
Smith said the fund will also provide health benefits to strikers and their families.
The strike is occurring at Mines No. 4 and 7. Workers at a preparation plant and a central shop are also involved. All mines and facilities are located near Brookwood in Tuscaloosa County.