The union representing around 1,000 coal miners who have been on strike for nearly a year and a half said Friday that Warrior Met Coal is moving to fire several dozen strikers.

In a Friday afternoon press release, the International President of the United Mine Workers of America said Warrior Met sent the union a letter earlier this week naming 40 strikers who will not be allowed to return to work, even if the strike ends.

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“We received on Monday a letter from Warrior Met that listed the names of 40 individuals that the company says it will not allow to return to work due to unspecified reasons," UMWA head Cecil E. Roberts said. "Warrior Met has been threatening to do this for months. It is demanding that the UMWA cede its legal responsibility to fairly represent those members and is attempting to prevent us from doing so."

Roberts said the list includes a number of local union leaders who have organized the strike and a "disproportionate number of African-American members."

“We have asked Warrior Met to provide us with any specifics it may have that would provide some clarity regarding its position. We are pursuing all legal avenues available to us on behalf of each of these individuals, including an unfair labor practice charge filed today," Roberts said. "Warrior Met has callously prolonged this strike for months, needlessly punishing these strikers, their families and the Alabama communities where they live. Warrior Met now wants to wipe out the union’s local leadership and attack our union’s diversity.

Roberts said the demands from Warrior Met will not deter the coal miners who have been striking since last April.

“Perhaps the Wall Street, ‘greed is good’ mentality of Warrior Met upper management has deluded them into believing this action will intimidate the membership into submission," Roberts said. "That would be a serious miscalculation.”

Stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread for more news from the strike as it becomes available.

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