Wyden, Merkley, Colleagues Press Warrior Met To Negotiate a Fair Contract with Workers’ Union

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley are joining colleagues in writing to Walter J. Scheller, Chief Executive Officer Warrior Met Coal, Inc. (Warrior Met), urging him to oversee good-faith negotiations for a fair contract with the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA).

In 2016, when Walter Energy filed for bankruptcy, the UMWA agreed to save the company by sacrificing their wages and benefits packages. The new company, Warrior Met Coal, then asked workers to work most holidays, 12 hour-days – sometimes seven days a week – for the past five years. These workers deserve a fair contract that honors the dignity of work.

“These workers sacrificed in order to save the company and put it on the pathway to profitability. Now that Warrior Met has achieved record revenues since 2016, these workers seek to engage in serious negotiations for a fair contract. As an employer of workers in a hazardous profession, Warrior Met has a moral responsibility to repay workers for their sacrifices and compensate them fairly for the profit they help create,” wrote the senators.

Earlier this year, Wyden and Merkley co-sponsored the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, comprehensive labor legislation to protect workers’ right to stand together and bargain for fairer wages, better benefits, and safer workplaces. Unions are critical to increasing wages and addressing growing income inequality—with studies showing that union members earn on average 19 percent more than those with similar education, occupation, and experience in a non-union workplace. The PRO Act would reverse years of attacks on unions and restore fairness to the economy by strengthening the federal laws that protect workers’ right to join a union and bargain for higher wages and better benefits. 

The letter was led by Senator Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and along with Wyden and Merkley was co-signed by Senators Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Alex Padilla, D-Calif., Bob Casey, D-Pa., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.

A web version of this release is here.