Strikers UMW Miners Return to Work Monday
CASTLEWOOD, Va. (AP) _ Miners return to work Monday at Pittston Coal Group after a violent 10- month strike in Virginia, Kentucky and West Virginia, with both sides saying it will take time for tensions to ease.
The 1,700 miners, who had been fighting the company as well as the replacement workers and supervisors who kept it running during the strike, on Feb. 19 ratified a settlement reached New Year’s Eve in Washington.
Some miners returned to work Friday, but officials said most will be coming back for the first time on Monday.
″It’s going to be odd going back,″ miner Buford Mullins said. ″I don’t think things can be as they were before the strike. It’s going to take a while.″
Pittston President Michael Odom said, ″There will be some tensions we will have to deal with.″ But he said the union employees struck with enthusiasm and probably will come back to work with enthusiasm.
Violence erupted sporadically during the strike. Replacement workers and supervisors were often pelted with rocks as they drove to work and verbally abused when they went to town.
The new contract gives union members the job security and health and retirement benefits they sought and gives Pittston the ability to run the mines seven days a week.