Warrior Met Coal is offering a $25,000 reward for anyone offering information that leads to an arrest for the detonation of a suspected explosive device.
According to the Alabama Mining Association (AMA), the FBI and ATF are investigating the suspected use of an explosive device during an attack against natural gas pipelines that occurred in the early morning hours of Thursday, March 24.
The incident occurred along Hannah Creek Road in eastern Tuscaloosa County. Nothing has been released regarding the extent of damage, and no injuries have been reported.
Patrick Cagle, president of AMA, called on all members of the mining community to condemn the attack.
“No one who shares the values of Alabama’s 21st-century mining community would participate in, stand by, or stay silent about this dangerous, inexcusable attack,” Cagle said. “Today’s events should be universally and categorically denounced. The mining industry prides itself on prioritizing safety above everything else, and this attack is ultimately an attack on what we stand for.”
Warrior Met Coal also released a statement condemning the attack, stating they believed the attack to be related to the labor strike that has been going on for nearly a year.
“Warrior Met Coal and its subsidiaries have always focused on the safety of our employees and the communities in which we live and operate,” said D’Andre Wright, spokesperson for Warrior Met Coal. “We believe today’s attack on our pipeline facilities was related to the ongoing labor dispute. As a critical infrastructure industry, it is imperative we protect our assets from acts of violence and vandalism to ensure public safety. While no injuries are known to have occurred, the threat to lives and property posed by this irresponsible and illegal attack is tremendous. We are cooperating fully with the ongoing investigation and expect those involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
This is the second time Warrior Met Coal has offered reward money after intentional damage to its property. In 2021, the company offered a $10,000 reward for information regarding damage to electrical transmission and distribution equipment located on Warrior’s property.
The workers of Warrior Met Coal have been engaged in an ongoing strike since April of 2021 due to alleged unfair labor practices.
The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) organized the strike and claims that the corporate structure of Warrior Coal allows the higher echelon to live in luxury while the workers struggle to make ends meet. The union further claim that Warrior Met Coal has cut wages by 20%, replaced pension plans with less optimal 401Ks, cut health benefits, and overworked employees without giving sufficient time off. The union believes all of these actions are unacceptable, especially when shareholders of Warrior Met Coal received over $850 million.
There have been accusations of violence on both sides of the picket line throughout the strike.
According to Josh Gaunt with UMWA, in June of 2021, trucks carrying non-striking workers into the mine repeatedly struck union members picketing at the entrance. No police reports were filed concerning the alleged incidents.
“We’ve done nothing to provoke these attacks. They really kind of changed the dynamics here and assumed that they’re going to adopt a violent stance against people who are engaging in a peaceful activity,” Phil Smith with UMWA said.
On May 25, 2021, hundreds of miners and their families marched to one of Warrior Met Coal’s entrances. A group of 11 miners led by UMWA President Cecil Roberts blocked the mine entrance to stop non-union workers from entering or leaving the mine at shift change. They were arrested and charged by the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Department with trespassing on company property.
Warrior Met Coal has consistently denied the accusations of unfair practices alleged by UMWA. The company has operated and updated a fact-check sheet that seeks to dispute the claims of union workers.
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