NEW YORK — Ten coal miners on strike against Warrior Met Coal in Brookwood, Alabama, were joined by officials and staff members of the United Mine Workers here June 22 at informational pickets outside the hedge funds that own controlling shares in the company. That included BlackRock Fund Advisors, SSgA Funds Management, Inc. and Renaissance Technologies.
The profit-driven owners of these Wall Street firms took over the mine complex in 2016 during the bankruptcy of former owner Jim Walter Resources. They imposed deep takebacks on unionists’ wages, benefits and working conditions as a condition for keeping the mine open. Some 1,100 miners are fighting to get back what they fought for decades to achieve. The strike began April 1.
They were joined by New York area supporters, including Sara Nelson, International President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA; a contingent from Local One of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees; several staff members from Local 388 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union; several pro-union Walmart workers; a UPS truck driver and a freight rail worker, both members of the Teamsters; and others.
The miners passed out fliers about their fight to those walking and driving by, drawing an especially positive response from taxi-cab drivers.
At the morning protest at BlackRock, the miners chanted for more than two hours. “Warrior Met Coal has no soul” and “No contract, no coal” were among the most popular.