Sanders, Warren Demand BlackRock Intervene in Coal Strike for Fair Contract

On Thursday, Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) despatched a letter to the CEO of BlackRock, demanding that the large monetary agency, which owns a big portion of Warrior Met Coal, intervene on behalf of placing mine staff in Alabama.

“We hope you recognize the form of circumstances that the miners at Warrior Met have skilled. The Warrior Met miners have labored as much as 16 hours a day, seven days every week,” the lawmakers wrote to BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, whose agency is Warrior Met’s largest shareholder. “The mines they work in are as much as 2,100 toes deep and are extraordinarily harmful, releasing poisonous, flammable and explosive methane fuel.”

Warrior Met Coal staff have been on strike since April of 2021, a strike that’s potentially the longest in Alabama history; it has gone on so lengthy that many staff have picked up different jobs to assist themselves and their households through the strike, Labor Notes discovered. The 1,100 staff who initially went on strike have needed to cope with routine abuse, together with Warrior Met personnel hitting picketers with their vehicles.

The United Mine Employees of America members are hoping to reverse concessions made in contract negotiations in 2016, together with a pay reduce of $6 an hour, worse advantages and extra harmful working circumstances. Presently, the corporate has supplied a increase of solely $1.50 per hour over 5 years and has not budged on restoring well being care and pension advantages.

The corporate can be demanding the flexibility to fireplace staff who’ve engaged in so-called “picket line misconduct” – in essence, any employee who has been vocal on the picket line, together with union leaders.

“Principally, they went after all of the union officers, strike captains, and those who’s been vocal on the picket line,” miner Brian Seabolt told Labor Notes.

Sanders, Warren and Baldwin known as the corporate’s platform outrageous, mentioning that Warrior Met is making these calls for regardless of making billions and consistently rewarding shareholders with dividends.

“Whereas the extraordinary sacrifices made by the miners saved the corporate an estimated $1.1 billion over the previous 5 years, the executives at Warrior Met and their Wall Avenue buyers made out like bandits,” the letter reads. “Since 2017, Warrior Met has rewarded $1.4 billion in dividends to its rich shareholders whereas handing out bonuses of as much as $50,000 to its executives.”

In the meantime, staff face dismal circumstances, and are required to maintain the mine working 24 hours a day, together with holidays. The corporate has violated mine security rules not less than 40 instances since 2016 and fires staff for lacking over 4 days of labor.

“In our view, that is exactly the kind of company greed that the American individuals are rising more and more disgusted with,” the lawmakers wrote.

Sanders has gone on to CEOs of main companies on labor points earlier than. Earlier this month, he despatched a letter to Warren Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and one of many world’s richest males, asking him to compel executives at a metal plant owned by the conglomerate to supply staff a good settlement.