AFGE Rallies Behind Striking Mine Workers

Categories: The Insider

Striking Alabama coal miners of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) have entered their fourth month on strike as they fight for better pay, benefits, and job security.

These mine workers made sacrifices that ultimately brought their employer, Warrior Met Coal, out of bankruptcy. UMWA miners were willing to take pay and benefit cuts to help the company get back to a stronger financial position. However, in the true spirit of corporate greed, Warrior Met Coal decided in return to pay upper management thousands of dollars in bonuses and undercut workers at the bargaining table.

AFGE has proudly supported these courageous workers as they demand dignity, fairness, and respect from their employer. Last month AFGE District 5 organized a contingent of AFGE leaders and activists to join a solidarity event held in Tannehill State Park in support of the striking mine workers. 

“I feel it is necessary for AFGE to be involved with the mine workers, as well as the community as a whole, because it’s past time for us as the house of labor to walk the talk of solidarity,” said AFGE District 5 National Vice President David Mollett. “Union is and should be more than just lip-service. We are truly stronger together.” 

Click here to watch the latest video about the striking coal miners.

Reflections from solidarity event participants 

“I was inspired by the mine workers’ courage and resolve. They are sacrificing their income to improve their families’ lives in the future. This is what it means to be a unionist. I was proud to stand in solidarity with them, even for a short period of time. I hope AFGE members offer encouragement and financial contributions so these workers can stay on the picket lines and ultimately win the pay and benefits they deserve.” - Yolanda Pickstock, AFGE Legislative and Political Organizer 

“It was a great experience to be with our brothers and sisters from other internationals and organizations as we all came together to show support of the UMWA. They also expressed their thanks to each of us for coming out to support them. They believe there’s strength in numbers and the numbers were there for this event.” - Jeanette McElhaney, AFGE Local 987

“It was a wonderful display of unionists from diverse backgrounds answering the call to action in support of UMWA. Solidarity Forever!” - Rudolph Porter, AFGE Local 503

“All of the AFGE members that were present at the UMWA event had been on a picket line before. A few of them have seen union members stand in line to receive money from other internationals while they were on strike. The money was to help with bills and other expenses. I have seen this before and as always it is a humbling experience. I am so proud of NVP Mollett and LPO Pickstock for planning the trip. I am extremely proud of the members that travelled from South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama to bring the spirit of AFGE to the UMWA event.” - Horace Cooper, AFGE Local 2176 

“Being that was my first time ever participating in an AFGE solidarity day, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But the level of support displayed reminded me why I became a unionist.” - Angela Strozier, AFGE Local 2206

“I am glad to have traveled from AFGE Local 1858, Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL to the AFGE 5th District Solidarity event at Tannehill State Park, McCalla, AL to support the sisters and brothers of UMWA. The UMWA mine workers have made sacrifices during the past years for the company, and truly deserve better wages than what they are getting. It was amazing to see the many unionists come together for a rally filled with words of encouragement and support from the guest speakers. It was even more incredible to hear about the support of unions across the country and around the world monetarily supporting the mine workers’ cause. UMWA had food available for the unionists and their family members to take home, along with monetary assistance to help them during the strike revealed to me what unions are all about. The AFGE 5th District Solidarity Day was a success and an excellent display of solidarity at its finest.” – Verge Matthews, AFGE Local 1858

“Being at the UMWA rally reminded me of how serious the business of labor really is and the importance of a collective bargaining agreement. We are literally talking about food on the table, money in the pockets, leave, medical benefits, and entire families of working America being impacted by the greed of big business.” - David Mollett, AFGE District 5 National Vice President

As the strike continues, workers need our support. Please consider making a donation to the strike fund at umwa.org/umwa2021strikefund.


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