Union begins strike training for its membership
For Immediate Release
Contact: Phil Smith, (703) 208-7241
United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil E. Roberts sent an unfair labor practice strike authorization notification yesterday to three UMWA local unions representing miners at Foundation Coal o. operations in Pennsylvania and Illinois. A letter was also sent to Foundation Coal Company.
In the text of the letter to Foundation, Roberts said, "In response to employer unfair labor practices, please be advised that I have authorized a work stoppage beginning at 12:01 a.m., Wednesday, April 4, 2007, at the Foundation Coal Company, including Emerald Coal Resources, L.P., Cumberland Coal Resources, L.P, and Wabash Mine Holding Co."
"This is a step we did not want to take," Roberts said in a statement. "Yet the company leaves us with little choice. The company has failed to respond to our requests for information that are needed for bargaining a new agreement, as it is required to do by law. Because of this, we have filed an unfair labor practice with the National Labor Relations Board. The company also continues to insist on treating each of these operations as separate entities even though they are clearly all parts of the same employer."
Roberts noted that the contract at the Foundation mines expired three months after the expiration date of the UMWA contracts with other coal companies. "We have reached an agreement with all of the other coal companies, and it has been essentially the same agreement at every one of those companies. Foundation has had an extra three months, yet we still find ourselves at this point."
Roberts said that the members of the three UMWA local unions at Foundation were undergoing strike training today and tomorrow. "We sincerely hope it does not come to a work stoppage," Roberts said. "But we must be prepared if it does."