A major U.S. coal mining company is seeking bankruptcy protection.
Ohio-based Murray Energy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization Tuesday.
Former CEO Robert Murray said the move was necessary to access liquidity and best position the company for long-term success.
Many coal companies are struggling as communities have switched from the fossil fuel to less-polluting renewable energy or natural gas.
Several other major coal producers have filed for bankruptcy protection this year, including Blackjewel Mining in West Virginia and Cloud Peak Energy in Wyoming.
Robert Murray is a major backer of President Donald Trump, who has made saving coal jobs a key part of his campaign. Murray hosted a fundraiser for Trump in July, which had been expected to raise $2.5 million.
The company announced Tuesday that Robert Moore will replace Murray as CEO.
The UMWA released the following statement:
United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil E. Roberts issued the following statement today:
“Today’s filing by Murray Energy for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization comes as no surprise. This day has been coming for some time.
“Coal production in this country continues to decline, due to the glut of natural gas on the market and continued government preference for gas and renewable energy to replace coal-fired power generation. Combined with a recent severe reduction in coal exports, these factors delivered a one-two punch that an over-extended Murray Energy could not withstand.
“Now comes the part where workers and their families pay the price for corporate decision-making and governmental actions. Murray will file a motion in bankruptcy court to throw out its collective bargaining agreement with the union. It will seek to be relieved of its obligations to retirees, their dependents and widows. We have seen this sad act too many times before.
“But that does not mean we will sit idly by and let the company and the court dictate what happens to our members and our retirees. We have high-powered legal, financial and communications teams in place that will fight to protect our members’ interests in the bankruptcy court.
“This is also the final shoe to drop in the battle to preserve retired miners’ health care and pensions. We have been warning Congress for more than a year that this day was coming. Let this finally be the catalyst that spurs action this year on Capitol Hill. There truly is no more time to wait.
“I want our active members to know that this filing changes nothing as far as the current terms and conditions of employment. The collective bargaining agreement continues in full force until the bankruptcy court orders changes to it. Our retirees should understand that their health care will continue to be paid, at least until the bankruptcy process is completed. We continue our work in Congress to secure their health care and pensions.”