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AFL-CIO offer ‘unwavering support’ to striking Alabama coal miners – AL.com

Members of the United Mine Workers of America are marching in New York City Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021, in support of the ongoing strike against Warrior Met Coal in Alabama.
The largest American labor organization has released another statement of support for striking Alabama miners, who are nearing the one-year mark since they walked off their jobs.
The AFL-CIO’s Executive Council on Wednesday said the ongoing strike by the United Mine Workers of America against Warrior Met Coal is “about respect, dignity and the fundamental rights of working people.”
“The 12.5 million members of the AFL-CIO offer our unwavering support to the striking workers,” the statement reads. “#WeAreOne, and will always have their backs.”
About 1,100 miners with the United Mine Workers of America began the strike last April 1. A tentative agreement later that month was overwhelmingly rejected by the union members.
The existing agreement with the union was negotiated as Warrior Met emerged from the bankruptcy proceedings of the former Walter Energy, which declared bankruptcy in 2016.
Union members say they made numerous concessions in pay, benefits, holidays, overtime and in other areas to keep the company going and get it out of bankruptcy. Over the past year, union members have picketed the company’s offices in Tuscaloosa County, marched in New York City and testified in Washington to keep the pressure on, even as court decisions restricted union members’ ability to picket after incidents of violence.
Part of the union’s campaign has been to spotlight profits made by private equity groups that Democrat lawmakers say created the conditions that led to the strike, as well as noting profits by the mining company during the strike.
In its statement, the AFL-CIO noted that Warrior paid “shareholders $852 million in dividends, paying a special cash dividend of $190 million and compensating CEO Walter Scheller with more than $17 million.”
The Warrior Met Coal strike is believed to be the longest strike in Alabama history. Attempts to contact Warrior Met for comment were not immediately successful.
“We want companies like Warrior Met to be successful, but not without fairness or valuing the most important part of the equation—working people,” the AFL-CIO’s statement read.
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