The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) have offered to return to work in the Warrior Met Coal mines on March 2 while the union and the company work out a contract that led to more than 1,100 members hitting the bricks almost two years ago.
UMWA President Cecil Roberts signed an “unconditional offer to return to work” letter dated February 17 to Warrior Met Coal CEO Walt Scheller making the offer.
“The status quo is not good for our members and their families,” Roberts stated “We have been locked in this struggle for 23 months now, and nothing materially has changed. The two sides have essentially fought each other to a draw thus far, despite the company’s unlawful bargaining posture the entire time.”
In order to keep the Alabama mines open and members working, the union agreed to reduced wages and benefits in 2016 when Warrior Met took over for bankrupt Walter Energy with the understanding that the contract would be improved when Warrior Met became profitable. According to the UMWA, the company had shown a profit for the two years prior to the April 1, 2021, walkout. However, Warrior Met refused to negotiate.
The MTD-affiliated union noted that Warrior Met is paying temporary replacement workers more in wages and benefits than it offered the UMWA members at the bargaining table.
“If it is going to pay that kind of money, we believe it should be going to Alabama miners and their families, not those coming from out of state,” Roberts added.
The UMWA pointed out that the company’s own reports have shown the mines are not producing at the same level as when union miners were on the job, hurting Warrior Met’s bottom line.
“We have long said that we are ready to get in the same room with Warrior Met leadership and stay there until we have an agreement,” Roberts concluded.