UMW Members Start Returning to Work at Massey
WILLIAMSON, W.Va. (AP) _ Unionized miners reported to work today at A.T. Massey Coal Co. operations in southern West Virginia and eastern Kentucky, ending a bitter, sometimes violent 15-month strike.
Members of the United Mine Workers were called in for physicals over the weekend in preparation of their return, company officials said.
They could not provide an exact number of miners who were told to return to work today, but union officials said 23 of 48 miners in UMW Local 2248 had been called back by Massey subsidiary Sprouse Creek Processing Co.
Most of the miners told to report to work were employees of Sprouse Creek and another Massey subsidiary, Rocky Hollow Coal Co., both headquartered in Lobata.
But other miners who took part in the longest authorized strike in UMW history were still off the job, as local UMW officials said it appeared Massey was conducting a phased recall.
UMW President Richard Trumka called off the strike two weeks ago.
Local 2248 president Jim Reid, who was not recalled, said: ″I’m just doing what I’ve done for the past 15 months, waiting to see what happens. Besides, I’d rather see all of the men in my local go back to work ahead of me anyway.″
Massey officials have said miners who participated in violence during the strike will not be rehired.
The company also maintains that the companies involved in the strike have not yet signed a contract with the UMW and that union miners returning to work will do so under terms and conditions to be determined by the company.
The UMW contends that all Massey workers will be covered by a contract signed by a Massey subsidiary, Omar Mining Co.
″I don’t guess this is the way any of us wanted it to end, but the important thing right now is that we’re going back to work,″ said Pete Adkins, one of those returning.