Union members arrested during Alabama coal strike protest
BROOKWOOD, Ala. (AP) — Nearly a dozen miners who’ve been striking an Alabama coal company for about two months were arrested during a protest outside a mine in Tuscaloosa County, a union said.
The United Mine Workers of America said 11 members were charged with trespassing at a Warrior Met Coal Inc. mine in Tuscaloosa County on Tuesday evening. They were released on bond early Wednesday, the same day the union planned a rally at a state park west of Birmingham.
Video from WVTM-TV showed members in plastic handcuffs being loaded on to a sheriff’s office bus after a march to a Warrior Met No. 7 mine entrance.
A walkout by 1,100 workers at the company began April 1 after contract talks failed. Members said they made sacrifices to save the company a few years ago and want better pay and health benefits.
“We put our lives on the line every day,” said miner Mike Wright.
The company did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on the arrest and continuing strike but previously has defended its contract offer.
Miners rejected the company’s initial offer less than two weeks after the strike began, and Mine Workers International President Cecil Roberts said the company has refused to engage in “meaningful negotiations.”
Warrior Met produces coal used in steel production in Asia, Europe and South America. Earlier this year it reported a loss of about $35 million for last year compared to net income of $302 million for 2019.
The publicly traded company company did not release financial guidance for this year citing uncertainty created by the global coronavirus pandemic.