Strike ends for Warrior Met Coal miners

Warrior Met coal miners return
Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 5:38 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2023 at 5:44 PM CST
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TUSCALOOSA COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) -The two year strike by Warrior Met coal miners appears to be over. Though there are still issues between the company and the workers, miners have started the soft transition back to work.

The strike started 23 months ago, on April 1, 2021, making it the longest strike in state history.

“We just felt like it was time for us to get back our people to making some decent money and doing what they like to do,” said United Mine Workers District 20 International Vice-President Larry Spencer.

More than 900 miners from Warrior Met Coal picketed for almost two years over what they considered unfair labor practices. During that time, there were rallies and even a police investigation in which someone allegedly set out road spikes near a company Christmas party. Now, they begin a new chapter.

“Coal miners are unique individuals. They enjoy running coal,” said Spencer.

For the next two weeks or so, returning miners will undergo drug tests and physicals with a tentative date of digging for coal again in Brookwood in mid-March. To be clear, the return doesn’t mean there’s been an agreement, according to Spencer.

“If we continue to negotiate and the company comes across with a good contract, I think both sides can be winners. What we’re going back to is pretty decent but I think we can get a better contract,” said Spencer.

Larry Spencer anticipates the majority of the miners who went on strike will return to work. Some likely will not, because according to Spencer, they found other jobs.

Company leaders responded this statement:

“Warrior Met Coal is pleased to announce that we are working closely with the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) to ensure a seamless return to work for our striking miners. As a result of the protracted strike, the reintegration of our employees will be gradual, contingent on each worker satisfying the requisite safety and training protocols outlined by Warrior Met Coal and federal law. We remain steadfast in our commitment to addressing any concerns in a collaborative and respectful manner, with a focus on providing a secure and productive working environment for all our employees.

We strongly believe that partnering with the UMWA is critical to achieving our shared goal of maintaining a constructive and mutually beneficial relationship, and we eagerly anticipate the return of our valued employees to work.”

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