United Mine Workers of America Votes Down Contract Offer From Murray Energy Corp.

WHEELING –United Mine Workers of America members at five Murray Energy Corp. mines in West Virginia rejected a new contract Tuesday that would have lasted through 2021.

“This is a democratic union. The membership has had their say and I respect their decision,” UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said. “This is a very hard time for everyone in the coal industry, especially those who actually mine the coal. Thousands are laid off and those who remain at work confront ever-more difficult working conditions. Today’s vote reflects those difficulties, and I understand that.”

Roberts said the union’s current working agreement lasts for about six more months. The new contract would have covered union employees at the Ohio County, Marshall County, Marion County, Harrison County and Monongalia County mines.

The soon-to-close Powhatan No. 6 mine in Belmont County is also a union mine, but it’s expected to close sometime in November, before the current agreement expires.

Robert E. Murray serves as both president, chairman and CEO of Murray Energy, as well as chairman of the Bituminous Coal Operators Association. Murray American is a subsidiary of St. Clairsville-based Murray Energy.

“Murray American Energy Inc. is deeply disappointed to confirm that hourly employees who are members of the United Mine Workers of America at its mines failed to ratify the tentative labor agreement between the Bituminous Coal Operators Association Inc. and the UMWA,” Murray spokesman Gary Broadbent said. “The Bituminous Coal Operators Association will further examine all of its options with regard to this matter.”

Union spokesman Phil Smith said he could not discuss the terms of the contract late Tuesday.

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