Some 2,000 coal miners and allies attended a rally in Brookwood, Alabama, Wednesday in support of local United Mine Workers members as they enter the fourth month of a strike over contract negotiations with Warrior Met Coal.
The strike, which began on April 1, 2021, came after miners working for the company based outside of Tuscaloosa voted against a proposed contract that workers felt did not address back pay and health care concerns.
According to a United Allied Workers press release, the local coal miners union had agreed to a 2016 pay cut as former owners of the mining operations went through a bankruptcy process, with the promise of being restored when the company sold. A group of hedge funds now owns Warrior Met Coal and in April, offered a contract that would restore pay rates to 2015 levels, but not offer back pay, despite the $3.4 billion in profits the UMWA says the company has made over the past five years.
“Look around, guys. This is what the union’s about,” Larry Spencer, vice president of UMWA’s International District 20, said during the rally. “We’re just asking for our fair share, is all we’re asking for. That’s it.”
The UWMA said in a press release union members from other parts of Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky also attended the event in support of the striking miners.
Below are images from Alabama-based photographer Quez Shipman of the UMWA event on August 4, 2021.