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Union, coal company reach tentative deal to end strike

BROOKWOOD, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama coal company has reached a tentative deal with labor to end a strike that idled more than 1,100 workers in Tuscaloosa County, the United Mine Workers of America said.

The union announced the agreement late Monday with Warrior Met Coal Inc., where members have been on strike at two mines and adjoining facilities since Thursday.

The company hasn’t comment publicly, and details of the tentative deal have not been released. But the union said meetings will be held Wednesday to explain the agreement to members, and a ratification vote will be held Friday.

“The decision to begin this strike rested with me. The decision to end the strike now rests with the membership of the union at Warrior Met,” union president Cecil Roberts said in a statement. “If they ratify this tentative agreement, the strike will end and they will have a new contract. If they do not ratify it, the strike will continue and we will seek further negotiations with the company.”

Warrior Met produces coal used in steel production in Asia, Europe and South America but reported a loss of about $35 million for last year compared to net income of $302 million for 2019. The company didn’t release financial guidance for 2021 citing uncertainty created by the coronavirus pandemic.

A statement by Warrior Met said it provides workers with a “competitive package” while protecting jobs that the future of the company.

“We are pleased to have reached a tentative agreement and hope it gets ratified by the UMWA in order for our miners to resume work and continue the positive impact this industry has on our state’s economic growth,” it said.

The strike began as officials were counting ballots in Birmingham amid a push to unionize workers at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, located about 30 miles from the mines.

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