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UMWA HITS UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICES; STRIKE TARGET: PEABODY

 WASHINGTON, Feb. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Protesting unfair labor practices, United Mine Workers of America President Richard Trumka has announced that his union's members will strike the massive Peabody Coal Co. at midnight tonight. The strike at Peabody, the nation's largest coal producer, will begin after the 1988 National Bituminous Coal Wage Agreement (NBCWA) expires at 11:59 p.m. (local time) this evening. The NBCWA, which is negotiated between the union and the industry's Bituminous Coal Operators' Association (BCOA), covers approximately 7,700 working miners at Peabody and more than 60,000 miners at hundreds of other coal companies nationwide.
 "We are informing our members that, at this time, our strike is limited only to Peabody. If, when and how this strike expands depends entirely on whether the BCOA companies are prepared to bargain," Trumka said.
 The UMWA leader said that Peabody and other BCOA affiliates "have refused to respond to even the most simple information requests" from the UMWA since both sides announced the start of contract talks Nov. 6.
 "For a contract settlement to be reached, both sides -- not just the union -- have to be prepared to negotiate. Absent that, you don't have collective bargaining, only a collective waste of time," Trumka said.
 The UMWA leader said that he is particularly disappointed with the BCOA companies' refusal to bargain in light of what he described as "the major issues facing our members today."
 "Today, thousands of UMWA coal miners are seeing the coal companies they've worked years for open new mines and closing older mines. But when it's time to fill the jobs at those new mines, those long-term employees are being shut out," Trumka said.
 "What we want to bargain for is job security so our members don't see their family's future go up in smoke when coal operators open new mines. It's not a new idea. In fact it's something GM agreed to with the Auto Workers when they opened up their Saturn plant. But so long as the BCOA companies refuse to bargain, we can't even talk about job security, let alone any other issue," Trumka added.
 Trumka would not discuss details of the UMWA's strike preparations, but did say that he "would not be at all surprised" if the union's contract campaign this year "dwarfed" the UMWA's strike at Pittston Coal Co. in 1989.
 "The whole 103-year history of the UMWA is the story of coal miners digging in and doing what they have to do to protect their families. This generation of American coal miners is prepared to do what they have to do for their families," Trumka said.
 In addition to active union members, more than 150,000 UMWA retirees for whom the union negotiates pension increases are also affected by the NBCWA. However, in the event of a strike, union retirees will continue to receive their pensions, and their health benefits will be unaffected.
 Unaffected by tonight's NBCWA contract expiration are the four coal companies who comprise the Independent Bituminous Coal Bargaining Alliance (IBCBA). The members of the IBCBA, which began separate contract negotiations with the UMWA last October, have received a 60-day extension of their agreements with the union.
 The IBCBA, which includes the Drummond Co., Jim Walter Resources, Inc., Westmoreland Coal Co., and U.S. Steel Mining, came together last fall to negotiate a new contract with the UMWA that would also address a range of labor-management cooperation initiatives. The BCOA companies have long expressed disinterest in labor-management cooperation efforts.
 PEABODY COAL COMPANY FACT SHEET
 Peabody Coal Company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Peabody Holding Company. Peabody Holding Company was acquired in 1990 by Hanson PLC from Newmont Mining and other owners for $1.3 billion.
 Hanson PLC is a giant multinational conglomerate, based in London. It earned before-tax profits of about $2 billion on sales of about $11.9 billion in 1991.
 Hanson's operations in the United States are run through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Hanson Industries, which has its headquarters in New York City.
 The key decision-makers in Hanson are Lord James Hanson, who until recently was CEO of the parent company, and Lord Gordon White, who until recently was CEO of Hanson Industries. Hanson made $2.4 million in salary and bonus in 1991. He is the company's largest shareholder with stock worth about $170 million. Recently, both Hanson and White formally stepped down from their positions, and Derek Bohnham was appointed CEO of the parent company, and David Clark was appointed CEO of Hanson Industries.
 Peabody is the largest coal producer in the United States and the largest privately-owned coal company in the world. Irl Engelhardt replaced Robert Quenon as CEO of Peabody Holding Co. in 1990.
 Peabody Holding Company is very profitable. In 1991, Peabody earned about $263.5 million in profits on sales of about $1.7 billion. In that year, only its tobacco division made more money for Hanson. In 1991, Peabody made up 13 percent of Hanson's total profits and 14 percent of Hanson's total sales.
 In 1991, Peabody produced about 92 million tons of coal at 54 underground and 17 surface mines. About 60 percent of Peabody's coal sales come from its surface operations. Its two Wyoming mines -- Rochelle and North Antelope -- alone produce 26 percent of the company's total production. Peabody controls an estimated 8 billion tons of U.S. coal reserves, of which 2.3 billion tons have been assigned.
 The UMWA represents 96 percent of all Peabody hourly classified employees -- approximately 7,700 people. UMWA-represented operations produce 74 percent of all Peabody production. Of the union mines, 74 percent work under the BCOA contract, and 26 percent work under the UMWA Western Surface Agreement.
 Peabody Coal Co. has consistently refused to provide the union with relevant information regarding its relationship with Peabody Holding and Hanson PLC as it affects job opportunities for UMWA members at non-signatory coal operations. Without the information it is impossible for the union to bargain over the issues of job security and work preservation.
 UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA FACT SHEET
 Founded in 1890, the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) has more than 200,000 members through the United States and Canada. The principal officers of the UMWA are Richard Trumka, international president; Cecil Roberts, international vice president; and Jerry Jones, international secretary-treasurer.
 Structure
 The UMWA is organized into 17 districts responsible for servicing many of the day-to-day needs of union members as well as 638 local unions established at each mine and at other facilities where UMWA members work. All UMWA officers are elected directly by the union's rank-and-file.
 Affiliations
 The UMWA is an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, Canadian Labour Congress, Miners' International Federation (MIF) and the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU).
 Facts About UMWA Members at Peabody Coal
 -- The average age of a coal miner at Peabody Coal Co. is 45 years.
 -- The average number of years of service of a miner at Peabody Coal Co. is 17 years.
 -- 51 years is the average age of workers laid-off by Peabody Coal Co. who are vested for future pension benefits.
 -- Seven years is the average remaining life of an operating Peabody Coal Co. mine.
 Union Representation and Coal Mine Productivity
 According to data collected by the Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration for the first half of 1992, the productivity rate differences between union and non-union U.S. coal mines are marginal at best.
 In the eastern coal producing states -- where UMWA membership is concentrated and where coal mining is most difficult -- both underground and surface coal miners represented by the UMWA mine 3.51 tons of coal per man-hour while their non-union counterparts mine 3.78 tons of coal per hour. UMWA miners at eastern surface mines, however, mine 4.36 tons of coal per hour compared to 3.97 tons of coal per hour by their non-union counterparts.
 Statistics related to union vs. non-union coal mine productivity are often skewered in favor of non-union operations by the production levels of several large surface mines in the west. It should be noted that UMWA-represented workers at unionized western surface mines, as in the east, are as productive as their non-union counterparts.
 -0- 2/1/93
 /CONTACT: Jim Grossfeld of the United Mine Workers of America, 202-842-7240/


CO: United Mine Workers of America; Peabody Coal Co. ST: District of Columbia IN: MNG OIL SU:

DC -- DC027 -- 1530 02/01/93 16:50 EST
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