Two Thousand Supporters Turn Out for Striking Workers at Met Coal Mine in Brookwood, Alabama

August 4, 2021

Brookwood, Alabama- Over 2000 people showed up at the Brookwood, Alabama Town Park in support of United Mine Workers Local 2245. The local has been on strike since April 1, 2021 at Warrior Met Coal in Brookwood, Alabama, just outside of Tuscaloosa. The workers walked off the job after their contract expired and the membership voted down the tentative agreement that had been proposed.

In 2016 the local union agreed to concessions to help the previous owner of the mine during a time of bankruptcy. The mine sold with the promise the workers would be rewarded for their sacrifice. While the pandemic impacted the coal industry just like everything else, CEO Walter J. Scheller, III says the company is, ​“strongly capitalized and well-positioned to restart our growth trajectory.”

To complicate things for the striking miners, the new owners are a group of Hedge Funds. United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts stated the concessions of the miners saved the new company $1.1 billion dollars. In the past five years the company has made another 3.4 billion dollars most of which flowed back to the hedge fund investors.

The new owner’s contract offer would have restored the workers back to their 2015 pay, still leaving them six years behind in compensation. To add insult to injury management gave managers a $35,000 bonus earlier this year after the miners had worked 16 hour shifts and seven day weeks during the pandemic to keep the coal moving for steel production.

The new owners brought in replacement workers to try and keep the mine running to break the strike. The workers have also been targets of violence as several strikers have been struck by vehicles in deliberate attacks on the union members.

This is simply one more infuriating story if “wealthy investors” swooping in and taking money of the pockets of the workers and putting it in their own pocket. The coal this mine produces is used for steel production and does 2000 feet in the ground with, with miners having to travel up to ten miles underground to reach the coal face. It is the miners who risk their lives miles underground, 16 hours a day, seven days a week to remove this coal, while hedge fund managers and their investors occupy high rise offices on Wall Street and have enjoy fancy dinners and mansions off the blood and sweat of the miners.

Today’s rally was to lend support and help to these brave miners who have been standing in solidarity for their families, they union brothers and sisters and their community. Larry Spencer, vice president of UMWA's International District 20 was on hand for today’s rally and made the following remarks. “Look around, guys. This is what the union’s about,” said Spencer. “We need to make sure that that company up there knows that we’re going to do this and, if we have to, we’ll be back and we’ll be back and we’ll be back. “We’re just asking for our fair share, is all we’re asking for. That’s it.”

Among those in attendance were a number of UAW groups. Retiree Local 2195 in Athens, Alabama, Local 1853 in Spring Hill, Tennessee and Local 862 in Louisville, Kentucky all sent groups to stand with our United Mine Worker Brothers and Sisters. “This fight is about us all,” stated Local 2195 Retiree Chair Charles McDonald,” Standing in solidarity is vital to protect the gains made by working people. We have to assist these brothers in sisters in their fight for justice.”

After a grueling five month strike, the brothers and sisters in Brookwood are feeling the strain of being on strike. A fund has been established to assist these families. Donations can be made electronically at or checks can be mailed to United Mine Workers Headquarters at UMWA 2021 STRIKE AID FUND P.O. BOX 513 DUMFRIES, VA 22026.

As Brother McDonald stated, this fight is about us all. For too long Hedge Fund Managers have swooped in and stolen from America’s working men and women. At some point we all have to say enough is enough. The words of the working person’s anthem “Solidarity Forever” state:

“They have taken untold millions that they never toiled to earn
But without our brain and muscle not a single wheel can turn
We can break their haughty power, gain our freedom when we learn
That the union makes us strong”
From Solidarity Forever by Ralph Chaplin

At Brookwood, workers made concessions to keep the mine open in 2016. Since that time the Hedge Fund that purchased the mine has made $4.5,000,000,000 in profits off the coal produced there. The worker’s concessions alone equaled $1.1 billion in profit. Now, Warrior Met Coal has offered to restore the workers compensation to 2016 levels. Never mind what these workers have given up- they expect the union members go back five years in pay while managers recently received $35,000 in bonuses. These managers have not toiled 16 hours a day, seven days a week, underground in dangerous conditions to mine the coal. The Hedge Fund Managers have enjoyed their plush lifestyle off the blood, sweat and tears of these workers.

Consider making a donation to help these workers as they fight for the future of all labor. Their sacrifice is for all working families and they need our help. By standing with them, they can last one day longer and win back what was taken from them in the name of corporate bonuses.