Remington Arms Factory just terminated all but 22 of their 600 workers, all without severance pay or giving them benefits they were owed, despite what was written in their collective bargaining agreement.
United Mine Workers of America Director of Government Affairs Phil Smith joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the status of the coal industry and Remington Arms Factory employees and the refusal of their employers to pay contractual obligations to their workers.
Status of the coal industry
Under the Trump administration, the United States lost approximately 3,000 to 4,000 coal industry-jobs. Smith said this is due to a combined effort of lack of federal government funding and pushback from the environmental movement.
He discussed that the U.S. has been working on a clean coal plan called carbon capture and storage. This is a process that would take carbon dioxide that is emitted from burning fossil and capturing them before it is released into the atmosphere and stored permanently underground in an attempt to lower emissions levels. The issue, however, is the aforementioned lack of funding from the government. He also mentioned that the U.S. is far behind other countries in the coal industry because of the harsher environmental restrictions.
Remington Arms Factory Workers
Smith discussed the Remington Arms factory workers in New York and Alabama. He said that the factory in Alabama was unable to organize their employees like they did in their New York factory.
Issues arose when the New York factory laid off 585 of their workers and did not respect the collective bargaining agreement that was agreed upon when the workers unionized. This means that the workers will lose their healthcare and will not be receiving severance pay.
Smith said that they filed a case with the National Labor Relations Board about this being an unfair labor practice. Smith is nervous because of the NLRB’s anti-union background, but they will not give up on their workers and that with the power of solidarity, they will prevail.