The International Brotherhood of Teamsters unequivocally rejects the recent ruling by Region 10 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), unfairly levying millions of dollars in fines against members of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) for expressing their federally protected rights as union members.
UMWA has made clear its intent to vigorously challenge the outrageous assessment of damages by the NLRB concerning mine workers’ 16-month strike against Warrior Met Coal. The Alabama-based employer refused to negotiate in good faith with the union and is struggling to justify a loophole in American labor law to circumvent the leverage of average American workers to strike disastrous, greed-driven companies.
“The Teamsters proudly stand with our brothers and sisters of the United Mine Workers of America to combat this assault on American workers by the National Labor Relations Board,” said Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien. “Are we simply going to strip hardworking Americans of their ability to organize, and of their freedom to strike corrupt employers? At what point is the federal government going to intervene to actually protect working people?”
The UMWA entered into an agreement in June with Region 10 to help striking members and their families avoid hostile questioning by Warrior Met Coal attorneys. Despite these well-intentioned efforts, the NLRB billed the union more than $13 million in July for damages the corporate employers allege are owed as a result of union opposition to worker exploitation.
The fine unjustly calculated by Region 10 is more than 33 times the estimated amount that NLRB attorneys initially assessed in response to strike actions.
“Should this ruling by Region 10 be upheld, every American worker is on notice that the federal government of the United States has turned its back on you,” said Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer Fred Zuckerman. “The ability to strike a ravenous employer — a once assured protection for Americans to fight for better working conditions — would be on the chopping block if this decision isn’t reversed. There’s no other way to look at it. The NLRB is simply wrong in this misguided ruling.”
Warrior Met Coal instigated the prolonged strike against mine workers after spending months refusing to bargain in good faith for a new contract. In coordination with the UMWA, the Teamsters Union and its membership of 1.2 million hardworking Americans is prepared to exhaust every resource to protect the right to strike of every worker in every jurisdiction.