Alabama miners win solidarity in strike against Warrior Met Coal

By Seth Galinsky
July 4, 2022

Striking Warrior Met coal miners “are fighting against powerful forces in Alabama who want nothing more than to strip away everything we’ve earned,” United Mine Workers of America Secretary-Treasurer Brian Sanson told the national convention of the AFL-CIO union federation in Philadelphia June 13. He was flanked by two striking miners. “Our fight is far from over,” he said.

Some 1,100 UMWA members went on strike April 1, 2021, after Warrior Met refused to honor its promise to restore concessions in pay, benefits and work conditions imposed in 2016. Warrior Met attacked gains fought for and won by the union over decades when it took over the Jim Walter Resources mines in Brookwood, Alabama, after it declared bankruptcy the year before. Warrior Met was formed by several creditors of Jim Walter, including multi-trillion-dollar hedge fund BlackRock.

“We lost $6 an hour,” striker Brian Kelly told the press at a solidarity rally in New York in October.

Warrior Met has spent at least $65 million on security, maintenance and other strike-related expenses while keeping some operations running with scabs. If it could increase production, Warrior Met stands to substantially boost its profits as the price of coal has doubled over the past year.

UMWA President Cecil Roberts announced at the UMWA convention in Las Vegas June 7 that a new round of negotiations with Warrior Met will start next week.

“That Warrior Met is willing to sit down with us is positive,” UMWA Communications Director Erin Bates told the Militant by phone June 21. “But we need a lot more.”

The strikers have won solidarity from other unions and workers in a wide range of industries including at weekly solidarity rallies in Brookwood, Alabama, at actions in front of BlackRock offices in New York and other protests around the country. The AFL-CIO convention, held right after the UMWA gathering, pledged more support.

At the UMWA convention, Roberts said that other unions and individuals have contributed some $2.5 million to the strike fund. After a three-week break, weekly rallies resumed June 22, with Roberts as the featured speaker.

Join the mineworkers’ weekly strike support rallies in McCalla. Send messages and contributions made out to UMWA 2021 Strike Fund and send to UMWA Strike Fund, P.O. Box 513, Dumfries, VA 22026. Messages of support can be sent to District 20, 21922 Hwy. 216, McCalla, AL 35111. Email: