Massey to appeal NLRB decision

APPALACHIAN producer Massey Energy says it will appeal last week’s decision by the National Labor Relations Board regarding hiring procedures at its Mammoth subsidiary in West Virginia.
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Massey Energy's Mammoth mine.

Donna Schmidt

The company said that the mining properties, bought out of the bankruptcy proceedings of Horizon Natural Resources in 2004, were “free and clear of previous obligations” and that included any existing contracts with the largest US industry union, the United Mine Workers of America.

“We did not discriminate in our hiring and plan to appeal this decision,” Massey chairman and chief executive Don Blankenship said of the NLRB’s claim that Mammoth had discriminated against the workers by not rehiring them after the mine’s purchase.

“The allegations against us are simply part of an effort to undermine the bankruptcy court’s ruling that these properties were to be sold free and clear of prior obligations. Such efforts discourage would-be employers from trying to acquire and turn around failing businesses.”

Blankenship added that Mammoth had a staff of 270 and that job offers were made “to a large number” of those accusing it of discriminatory acts.

“Only nine job offers were accepted,” he noted.

Late last week, the NLRB ordered Mammoth Coal to give back pay and benefits to 85 union workers who were let go five years ago when Massey bought the then-named Cannelton mine from the now-defunct Horizon.

The board also ordered Mammoth to recognize the UMWA and negotiate a labor contract for the Kanawha County mine if requested.

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