The MTD expressed its support for 1,100 striking Mine Workers (UMWA) in Brookwood, AL, who have entered their 11th week on the picket lines against Warrior Met Coal.
MTD Executive Secretary-Treasurer Daniel Duncan joined several picket sites then participated in a solidarity rally on June 23 just west of Birmingham, AL. He told the Mine Workers (an MTD affiliate) that the department, its affiliates and its Port Councils would stand with them until they return to work. In addition to the words and action, the MTD presented UMWA President Cecil Roberts with a check for the strike fund.
The miners have been on strike since April 1, seeking better pay and benefits. The UMWA negotiated a contract with Warrior Met five years ago that reduced wages and benefits in order to keep the mines operating when that company took over for bankrupt Walter Energy. The coal is used for steel production in Asia, Europe and South America.
The union noted on its website, “While upper management was getting bonuses, UMWA miners took pay and benefit cuts.”
Just a day before Duncan was in Alabama, about one dozen of the strikers marched in front of three hedge fund headquarters along Wall Street in New York City. Dressed in the union’s camouflage logo t-shirts, they were joined on those lines by Association of Flight Attendants-CWA President Sara Nelson and Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union President Stuart Applebaum. (Applebaum was returning the solidarity shown by the Alabama UMWA members during the recent effort to organize an Amazon distribution center in nearby Bessemer.)
UMWA District 20 International Vice President Larry Spencer announced during the rally that talks would resume in July.
Meanwhile, 650 United Steelworkers (USW) from Local 13-423 have been walking picket lines since May 1 when ExxonMobil locked them out of its Beaumont, TX, refinery.
The MTD also sent support to the local’s strike fund as the USW is an affiliate. Father Sinclair Oubre, a Seafarers Union member who is the Diocesan Director for the Apostleship of the Sea in Beaumont, presented the MTD donation to Local 13-423’s officers.