Coal Tattoo

UMWA reaches deal with Alpha on Massey plants

This just in:

The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) announced today that it has reached collective bargaining agreements with Alpha Natural Resources covering five Central Appalachia coal preparation plants which had previously been owned by Massey Energy. Workers at the plants had been working under the provisions of a previous contract that expired in 1998.

“This is a very good day for these workers and their families,” UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said. “They will get a substantial initial raise, the first they’ve had since 1998. They will get annual wage increases for the life of the agreement. They will get a $1,000 bonus. They will get shift differentials, a clothing allowance, sickness and accident benefits and the best quality health care benefits.

“I commend the workers at these plants for persevering so long and sticking with the UMWA in the face of constant attacks by the previous ownership,” Roberts said. “Massey simply refused to take any steps to reach a fair agreement as long as these workers stayed in the UMWA. But the workers stayed united and it ultimately paid off for them.

“I also want to recognize the fresh approach Alpha is taking with respect to recognizing the value of these employees,” Roberts said. “The UMWA is working to build a good relationship with Alpha at these and other operations where we represent the workers. We appreciate the company’s willingness to recognize and address the long-standing inequities the workers at these preparation plants were dealing with.”

The agreement covers some 145 workers at the following locations: the Bandmill preparation plant in Logan County, W. Va.; the Long Fork preparation plant in Pike County, Ky.; the Goals preparation plant in Raleigh County, W. Va.; the Chesterfield preparation plant operated by Alpha subsidiary Omar Coal Co. in Boone County, W. Va.; and the Power Mountain preparation plant in Nicholas County, W. Va.

The 5-1/2-year agreement goes into effect Jan. 1, 2012, and will continue until June 30, 2017.