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PEABODY MOVES TO FIRE 163 KENTUCKY MINERS; WORKERS BEGAN CHANTING FOR CONTRACT DURING EXECUTIVE'S VISIT

 WASHINGTON, June 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The United Mine Workers of America issued the following:
 One-hundred sixty-three workers at a Peabody Holding Co. coal mine in Kentucky were suspended and face discharge today after workers began chanting "we want a contract" during a visit by a company executive this morning.
 The executive, George "Sam" Shiflett, had gathered workers at Peabody's Camp No. 1 mine in Union County, Ky., this morning for a highly unusual morning meeting when the miners, members of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), began chanting.
 Shiflett, described by employees as visibly shaken by the reaction to his visit, left the mine site immediately and ordered the discharge of all of the workers. Shiflett has received similar receptions during visits to other Peabody facilities in Illinois earlier this week.
 Commenting on Peabody's move to fire the Kentucky miners, UMWA President Richard Trumka said the company's action "is an outrageous assault on the right of these workers to free speech and the right to engage in union activity.
 "The fact is that Peabody's executives run their coal mines as if they were plantations. They seem to feel compelled to commit unfair labor practices at every opportunity. That's the reason why more coal miners are on strike this week than last week and why I expect even more will be going on strike next week," Trumka said.
 "The bottom line is this: how can we help prepare this industry for the global challenges of the future when its management is so clearly stuck in the brutal practices of the past?" he added.
 Peabody Holding Co., the nation's largest coal producer, is currently locked in a contract dispute with the UMWA. On Wednesday the union launched a series of strategic, selective strikes at Peabody mines in Illinois, West Virginia and Indiana.
 The central issue in the strike, which also affects other top U.S. coal producers, is job security. The UMWA has pointed out that despite dramatic increases in its members' productivity and efficiency, Peabody and other coal operators have consistently refused to offer job opportunities to union miners at newly opened mines.
 -0- 6/4/93
 /CONTACT: Jim Grossfeld of the United Mine Workers of America, 202-842-7240/


CO: United Mine Workers of America; Peabody Holding Co. ST: Kentucky IN: MNG SU:

MH-TW -- DC021 -- 5492 06/04/93 13:56 EDT
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Date:Jun 4, 1993
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