The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) Local Union 1948's members voted on Sunday to ratify a new contract at the Shoal Creek metallurgical coal mine, which is owned by Peabody Energy.

This coal mine has been closed since Oct. 4, 2020. The new collective bargaining agreement was ratified, with 63% of people voting for the contract and 37% voting against it.

"I congratulate the membership of Local Union 1948," UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said. "This ratification will pave the way for the reopening of this mine and means several hundred of our members who have been out of work for almost a year will be heading back to work very soon.

 

"I also commend the bargaining team who worked very hard to reach this agreement: International Secretary-Treasurer Brian Sanson, International District 20 Vice President Larry Spencer and District 20 Representative James Blankenship," Roberts continued.

According to UMWA, the new agreement at the Shoal Creek coal mine includes "an hourly wage increase and health care provisions consistent with the UMWA's national coal agreement." Also, UMWA members will receive a ratification bonus valued at $5,000.

"This will provide an economic boost not just for our members and their families, but also to the communities where they live," Roberts said. "And it provides a roadmap to settling the six-month strike at Warrior Met Coal in the same region."

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Roberts believes that this ratification could benefit the miners who are have been on strike at Warrior Met Coal in Brookwood for six months.

"We now have two similar collective bargaining agreements in the coalfields of Alabama, at the Shoal Creek and Oak Grove mines," Roberts said. "It's time for Warrior Met to step up and reach this kind of fair and reasonable agreement with its workers. I remain ready to negotiate with Warrior Met day and night to reach that agreement and get everyone in Alabama back to work."

The new agreement will expire on Dec. 31, 2024.

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