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COAL STRIKE ENDS

 WASHINGTON, March 2 /PRNewswire/ -- The one-month-old coal strike was settled today, barely 24 hours after United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) President Richard Trumka expanded the miners' walk out to five additional coal companies. The strike ended when Trumka and the members of the coal industry's Bituminous Coal Operators' Association (BCOA) reached agreement on a 60-day contract extension. Miners will begin returning to work at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.
 "I am satisfied that BCOA compliance with this agreement will provide the UMWA with the tools we need to negotiate a new contract and to enforce that contract once it is agreed upon," Trumka said. The UMWA demanded coal operators provide information to the union regarding company ownership and other issues Trumka described as "essential" in order for the mine workers union to negotiate job security for its members.
 The coal strike began the night of Feb. 1 when 7,500 coal miners in four states went on strike against Peabody Coal Co. The strike was expanded Monday morning when an additional 1,700 walked off their jobs at selected mines owned by Consol Energy, Inc., Freeman Energy Corp., Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal Co., Arch Mineral Corp., and Ziegler Coal Holding Co. Trumka had threatened a "phased expansion" of the coal field conflict which could have included more than 50,000 UMWA miners.
 The practice of striking specific companies or mines within companies, called a selective strike by the UMWA, began in 1983 when the union's national convention approved the new policy. Prior to 1983 industry-wide shut-downs were traditional in coal labor disputes.
 "Ten years ago the UMWA decided that selective strikes would give our union the greatest possible impact on a rapidly changing coal industry," Trumka said. "What we witnessed over these past days and weeks is how selective strikes can work in the 1990s."
 Under the terms of the agreement reached last night, the National Bituminous Coal Wage Agreement (NBCWA), which expired Feb. 1, will be extended until May 3. During that time the UMWA and BCOA will begin negotiations on a new contract.
 "We are now where we should have been last June when we first approached the BCOA to begin contract talks," said Trumka.
 Though the specific provisions of the agreement are confidential, Trumka said that "our members can rest assured that when we sit down to bargain with the BCOA, the people who'll be sitting across the table from us will be the people we need to deal with to negotiate jobs with a future for America's coal miners."
 With the strike now settled, job security -- or "jobs with a future" -- promises to be a top priority for the UMWA in the upcoming contract negotiations. During the one-month walk out union members stressed that thousands of coal miners face unemployment over the next 10 years as the coal supply in mines owned by BCOA operators is exhausted.
 The solution, the union has argued, is a commitment by coal operator to provide jobs to miners at operations set to open in the years to come. Coal companies have repeatedly attempted to avoid making this commitment and have instead engaged in the practice of "double breasting" by creating subsidiaries for the sole purpose of avoiding their obligations to union members.
 Trumka credits the union's success in gaining it breakthrough on its information request "to the solidarity and discipline of UMWA families all across the coal fields."
 "Not just anyone would have the guts to take the kind of stand UMWA members took," Trumka said. "This agreement is a tribute to every coal mining family who stood up and said that they'd be willing to sacrifice if that's what it took for the UMWA to go to the bargaining table with the strength to fight for real job security," Trumka said.
 Trumka also cited "strong community support and the solidarity of a united labor movement" as key factors in the union's success.
 The UMWA leader also credited Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Director Bernard DeLury "for his commitment and talent in helping to craft this agreement. I thank (Labor) Secretary Reich for making Mr. DeLury available to us to help solve this crisis so that real contract talks can now finally begin."
 -0- 3/2/93
 /CONTACT: Jim Grossfeld of the United Mine Workers of America, 202-842-7240/


CO: United Mine Workers of America; Bituminous Coal Operators'
 Association; Peabody Coal Co. ST: District of Columbia IN: MNG SU:


DC -- DC031 -- 2026 03/02/93 14:18 EST
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Date:Mar 2, 1993
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