Striking Miners are Broke
Streaming online StrikeFest raising money for union out since April
Seven weeks ago, coal miners at WarriorMet Mine in Brookwood, Alabama went on strike. Workers in the mine said that they decided to strike after the company refused to restore cuts that the union accepted in the last contract to help the company make it through bankruptcy. Workers in the mine average about 80 hours a week of work, including working on holidays but are paid less than other miners in the state.
The more than 1,000 families that are on strike are resilient, but the venture capital-backed bosses are hell-bent on starving the workers out and breaking the union. However, the workers won’t settle for a bad contract. One week after they went on strike, the union brought them a new best and final offer from the company, but the agreement only restored $1.50 of the $6.00 that workers had given back in the last contract. They voted it down from 1,006 to 45. The workers are walking the picket line 16 hours a day and are receiving just $625 every two weeks in strike pay. This has put a burden not only on the union's strike fund but also on local food banks.
However, the community has stepped up to help these workers. The wives of the striking miners have been holding bake sales outside of the union hall and have been selling shirts for $20 a pop that says “No Contract, No Coal.” A strike pantry has also been set up to make sure that these families have groceries at home.
With funds starting to run low, a weekend-long fundraiser is being planned for this upcoming weekend by The Valley Labor Report, a worker-focused weekly radio program in Alabama. The event will be live-streamed on their Youtube page and Twitch and all proceeds will go to the District 20 Strike Fund. The event, called Alabama Strike Fest, will feature the Birmingham-based gospel punk band Lee Bains & The Glory Fires, Drive-By Truckers’ Mike Cooley, music from UMWA members, and comedy by Drew Morgan of the WellRed Comedy Tour and D.J. Lewis. The music will kick off on Saturday at noon, but The Valley Labor Report will begin their Livestream fundraiser on Friday, May 21st at 10 AM and will continue streaming 24/7 through Sunday, May 23rd at 4 PM. The Valley Labor Report says there will be a new guest every hour.
“Our goal is to educate workers in Alabama on the power they have and to lift up the struggles of working people in our back yard,” said The Valley Labor Report’s Jacob Morrison. “I got to thinking how I can help them. I have seen a bunch of these fundraising streams online, so we decided to go ahead and do one.”
Tickets can be purchased here. If you aren’t in the Alabama area this weekend, you can still help out by making a donation to the strike fund by clicking here. Please help out these brave workers and allow them to keep their strike going.
Watch the live stream: