“Most of us are working other jobs and receiving strike pay but some have crossed the line,” said Rily Hughlett, a miner at Warrior Met Coal, who has worked as a roof bolter in the mines for 13 years and believes that workers will win the strike. “We’re not going anywhere. The scabs and the bosses are all humored but he who laughs last laughs loudest.”
Workers started the unfair labor practice strike over claims of bad faith bargaining by Warrior Met Coal over a new union contract. In the previous contract settled in 2016, miners accepted several concessions, including a $6-an-hour pay cut and reductions in health insurance and other benefits as the mines switched employers in the wake of a bankruptcy.
The miners on strike have received support from US politicians such as Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Baldwin and Sherrod Brown, and received donations to their strike fund from dozens of labor unions across the US.
Over the past 10 months they have held rallies and extended protests to the Alabama state capitol to criticize the use of public resources for state troopers escorting strikebreaking replacement workers to the mines throughout the strike. Miners have also held rallies in New York City outside the offices of BlackRock Investment Group, the largest shareholder of Warrior Met Coal. As of 2 November, the strike has cost the company $6.9m.
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