Tuscaloosa, AL – On April 2 around 10 p.m., more than 1100 workers at the Warrior Met Coal mine in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, who are members of the United Mine Workers of America, walked off the job and began an ongoing strike. The strike includes workers from all of the plant’s areas of operation, which include the #4 mine, the #5 preparation plant, the #7 mine as well as its central shop.
On April 3, large crowds of miners could be seen picketing in front of the entrances to the mine chanting “No contract, no coal!”
UMWA says that members of management have received bonuses recently that were as large as $35,000.
The strike is an unfair labor practice strike and UMWA has filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board around management’s behavior throughout the contract negotiations, and the union expects those charges will found to have merit and go through as they are investigated.
Management is reported to be looking at this as a long-term strike and beginning to make plans to bring in scabs in an attempt to bust the strike. While the use of scabs in any strike has a tendency to infuriate the striking workers, the coal mining industry has a special history in which use of scabs has created scenes involving destruction of company property and violence as a result.
Many of the most remembered of these clashes took place around the Coal Wars which happened over several decades between 1880 and 1930. However in much more recent history, coal strikes have continued to evoke major battles between coal miners who feel they have few options and mining companies which attempt to extract as much as wealth as possible from those workers. What will happen if the company follows through and brings in scabs is yet to be seen.
The UMWA says they are committed to this for the long haul and will keep fighting until they prevail.
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