P.M. BRIEFING : Coal Company Fires 29 Strikers
A coal company whose contract with the United Mine Workers includes a no-strike clause has fired 29 wildcat strikers who refused to return to work, the first firings of the four-week wildcat walkout, officials said today.
Howard Green, a member of the UMW international executive board, said the 29 were released Thursday and branded the firings “another intimidation tactic by the coal companies.”
Officials at Toney’s Branch Coal Co. headquarters in Beckley refused to comment on the dismissals beyond saying the company was a member of the Bituminous Coal Operators Assn., which in February, 1988, signed a UMW contract that included a no-strike clause.
The dismissals are the first during a four-week wildcat sympathy strike by UMW members backing colleagues at the Pittston Co. who have been on strike since April. Pittston, unlike most other coal companies, has no contract with the UMW, and the union has sanctioned that strike but not the wildcat walkout at other companies.