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Miners union issues return to work letter to Warrior Met Coal

This file photo shows coal mining company Warrior Met Coal's facility in Brookwood, Alabama (
This file photo shows coal mining company Warrior Met Coal's facility in Brookwood, Alabama (
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The unfair labor practice strike at Warrior Met Coal may be coming to an end as workers are set to return to their jobs in early March, according to a letter from the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA).

According to a release Thursday from the labor union, UMWA's International President Cecil E. Roberts has sent a letter to Warrior Met Coal announcing the UMWA membership who have been on strike would return to work at the company's four locations on March 2.

“We are entering a new phase of our efforts to win our members and their families the fair and decent contract they need and deserve,” Roberts said in the release. “We have been locked into this struggle for 23 months now, and nothing has materially changed. The two sides have essentially fought each other to a draw thus far, despite the company’s unlawful bargaining posture the entire time."

READ MORE: Warrior Met Coal workers strike for more days off, better pay

Roberts claimed the coal company has been paying significant wages and bonuses to its temporary replacement workers in the mines. He said the payments have been up to $2,000 more per month than what has been offered to to the union's members during the bargaining process. Roberts said that kind of money should be going to Alabama miners and their families rather than out-of-state workers.

“The status quo is not good for the company or its shareholders either, as the current workforce it has in the mines cannot match the level of production that our members can,” Roberts said. “The company’s own reports, including the one issued just yesterday, proves that. They have lost nearly a billion dollars in unrealized revenue over the last 23 months.”

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The letter sent to Warrior Met Coal is known as an unconditional offer to return to work. Hundreds of UMWA members would return to work but the union and the company would continue to work on a new agreement for fair wages, better working conditions and more.

“We have long said that we are ready to get in the same room with Warrior Met leadership and stay there until we have an agreement,” Roberts said. “So far the company has not been willing to do that. I sincerely hope that Warrior Met leadership will accept this offer, get our members back to work, engage in good faith bargaining and finally sit down face-to-face with us to resolve this dispute for the betterment of all concerned.”

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Warrior Met Coal has not yet issued a statement on the union's letter or on members returning to work.

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