BROOKWOOD, Ala. (WIAT) — Warrior Met Coal released a video on Monday claiming picketers have become more violent in recent weeks. The video shows several violent acts that Warrior Met Coal claimed were committed by picketers. The acts ranged from smashing car windows to entering the property to throwing a two-by-four through the back window of a car.
A spokesperson with the United Mine Workers of America told CBS 42 “We will have a response later. All I will say now is that it’s easy to selectively edit video.”
Members of the United Mine Workers of America went on strike in early April after contract negotiations with Warrior Met Coal failed to produce a deal. Members said they made sacrifices to save the company a few years ago and want better pay and health benefits.
Warrior Met Coal released the following statement alongside the video:
Warrior Met Coal, Inc. respects the right of represented employees to engage in lawful strike activities and has provided the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) picketers with reasonable spaces to picket at our entrances since the strike began on April 1, 2021. However, while the UMWA has portrayed their actions as “peaceful protests,” in recent weeks striking workers have escalated the amount and severity of criminal behavior. Warrior Met Coal is condemning the recent increase in vandalism and violence by UMWA leadership and members as the strike continues.
In addition to interfering with the entrance and exit to our facilities, picketers have increased attacks on personal vehicles, property, and uninvolved community members near the Company’s property. The UMWA picketers are engaging in behavior that is clearly in violation of both Alabama’s workers’ rights and the injunction granted by the Judge in Tuscaloosa County.
While unacceptable behavior by the picketers has been occurring since the strike began, actions both on the picket line and in the community have reached a dangerous level over the last week. For example, employees have been attacked in their vehicles, physically intimidated, and assaulted, and had personal vehicles and homes vandalized. The Company’s transport buses are being escorted by law-enforcement vehicles and yet continue to be threatened and attacked by UMWA picketers.
Picketers, who often seek to conceal their personal identity by wearing masks, have also expanded violence and disruption beyond the Company property and into the surrounding community, endangering those families, and our neighbors. Our employees’ homes and vehicles have been shot at from passing cars, and jack rocks and spike strips have been placed on area roads to damage their vehicle tires.
Misleading and erroneous statements made by UMWA leadership and members and repeated on social media are inflaming the situation. Criminal activity and intimidation by the UMWA must stop before someone gets seriously injured. Warrior Met Coal calls for the UMWA to change its practices, strongly denounce this behavior and take action to stop this violent, unlawful conduct in order to maintain public safety.Statement from Warrior Met Coal
This isn’t the first case of violence taking place during protests outside the mine entrances. Picketers said they were hit by vehicles on the picket line back in June.
Brookwood Police said they have seen the video, but cannot comment at this time as it is an ongoing investigation.