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Mayor says Warrior Met Coal strike taking toll on Brookwood community

Mayor talks about impact strike has had on town
Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 11:18 PM CDT
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BROOKWOOD, Ala. (WBRC) - We’re getting a look at new video showing the tension as coal miners continue to strike in Tuscaloosa County. A judge has ordered strikers to change how they’re picketing.

Warrior Coal Met released a nearly four-minute video showing people with signs hitting and smashing in windows of cars entering and leaving their facilities. One video shows a crowd of people swarming a bus filled with employees who the company says were trying to get to work.

We’ve seen pressure build on both side of the picket lines. In June, the United Mine Workers of America released video showing a red truck bumping someone at the picket line. Another video showed a black truck hitting someone else as it made its way into a plant.

“We’ve spent some extra money on overtime and additional manpower to make sure our citizens stay safe,” Mayor Joe Barger with the town of Brookwood said.

The small town of Brookwood is having to respond to some of the violence. Mayor Barger says it’s taken a toll on the community. Barger says people do have a right to peacefully protest but violence of any kind is unacceptable.

“We support our community members. We are doing our best to keep everyone safe at all times and we support everyone’s constitutional rights but we expect things to be kept within the law,” Barger said.

All of this comes as a Tuscaloosa County Circuit judge ruled that picketing or any other activity is prohibited within 300 yards of Warrior Met coal’s facility in the county. A union representative feels the judge has overstepped his boundaries.

“He’s tied our hands for freedom of speech. It’s a constitutional right if a person is taking your job. If you want to call them a scab, you call them a scab and he’s took that away from us,” Larry Spencer with the United Mine Workers of America said.

We received this statement from Warrior Met Coal after the judge’s ruling:

Early in the strike, Warrior Met Coal, Inc. was granted a court-ordered injunction in an effort to maintain a safe environment for our employees – including those actively at work and those currently on strike. This injunction was granted to combat unlawful activity on the picket lines, to allow for peaceful ingress and egress to our facilities, as well as maintain public safety.

Today, the Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order following the increase in violations of the existing injunction and to stop the increase in picket line violence committed by UMWA leadership and members in recent weeks.

The Company is focused on maintaining the safety of all employees and the community at large.

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