Tentative labor deal struck for large Murray coal mines in northern West Virginia

Coal operator Robert Murray’s Murray American Energy Inc. announced June 24 that the Bituminous Coal Operators’ Association (BCOA) and the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) union have reached a tentative labor agreement which, if ratified, will run from June 30, 2016, to Dec. 31, 2021.

Robert “Bob” Murray, the Chief Executive Officer of Murray American and Chairman of the BCOA, said: “We are pleased that the BCOA and UMWA have reached this very important tentative agreement, which will go a long way in ensuring that Murray American’s UMWA-represented employees are able to continue working, even in this very depressed coal marketplace. Indeed, over the past several years, the United States coal industry has been absolutely destroyed by policies of the Obama Administration and by the increased use of natural gas to generate electricity. Coal markets and prices have generally been cut in half. This tentative agreement provides the BCOA and UMWA with a path forward, even in these extremely difficult times.”

The tentative agreement is subject to ratification by the members of the UMWA.

Murray American subsidiary companies that are members of the BCOA, include: Ohio County Coal Co., which operates the Ohio County Mine; Marshall County Coal Co., which operates the Marshall County Mine; Marion County Coal Co., which operates the Marion County Mine; Harrison County Coal Co., which operates the Harrison County Mine; and Monongalia County Coal Co., which operates the Monongalia County Mine. Murray American currently has over 1,500 UMWA-represented active employees.

These are large, longwall-equipped mines that work the Pittsburgh coal seam in northern West Virginia. Murray bought them earlier this decade from CONSOL Energy.

Ohio Valley Coal Co. and Ohio Valley Transloading Co., which together have over 200 UMWA-represented active employees, will also be voting on the tentative agreement with the UMWA, the company noted. Ohio Valley Coal has a longwall-equipped mine in Ohio that also works the Pittsburgh coal seam.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.