A letter from an Alabama striking mine workers wife
Editors Note: Last week we had a letter from the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) Women’s Auxiliary, who are operating a Food Pantry to provide food and essential supplies to the 1,100 mine worker families . These miners have been on strike for ten weeks since April 1, 2021, against Warrior Met in Brookwood, Alabama. This letter is from a miner’s wife who has been helped by the Food Pantry. This program and the UMWA Strike Fund overall need the help of other working people.
The union strike against Warrior Met Coal is bigger than all of us. Amazon in Alabama recently attempted to unionize. When Warrior Met Coal filed bankruptcy 6 years ago they put miners in a corner. After 9 months being laid off the “new” company said we can get back to work IF you take a $6 an hour pay cut, no paid lunches, and insurance coverage drop from 100% to 80/20. Miners agreed with the promise that after 5 years the next contract would give back everything they sacrificed. Within 5 years these men and women took that company from bankruptcy and into some of the highest grossing years of profit. My husband is our only income and luckily we saved to prepare but savings go quickly with children to raise. We’re pressured on every side between company, company paid police, drones watching our every move, court rulings against us that only 10 can picket at a time, stress of keeping our homes, food on the table, and finding jobs while striking, marching, and attending rallies. My girls have seen even less of their daddy than usual. He’s picking up any jobs he can, working 7am to 7pm then going the hour drive to strike, march, rally, and picket. After all night on the picket line, he drives the hour back to go straight to working the temporary job which is many hours of hard labor and little pay. We can’t get the financial aid we paid into from our checks but WMC didn’t claim that part of income for those months because they knew it would “starve us out” which is why the pantry and donations are so important. When I opened our first pantry bag I immediately felt the love in it. Each item had a match for a meal the whole family would like. We even received diapers for our baby! A week of stress about food and diapers was taken off our shoulders. This strike has brought many of us together in a way I never expected.. The brotherhood and sisterhood of the UMWA is our strength, it is what will help us win this fight. We are achieving a lot here but we need the help of our fellow unions and community supporters. You might think this doesn’t concern you but if we fail this could be your future strike too. Other companies will follow suit. This is too important. We must come together. If you can donate it will help put food on union families’ tables. Bags of food put together with a lot of love and solidarity. We will get through this because we are union!
Brittney Wright, A striking miner’s wife, —
DONATE HERE: https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/UMWAStrikePantry