In a letter to union representatives, Drummond cited “a significant downturn in business,” as driving the cutbacks. “Although these layoffs may not be permanent, they will be of indeterminate length and will more than likely extend for more than six months,” added the letter.
Under the Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, state notification is mandatory for mass layoffs. Alabama’s Department of Economic and Community Affairs’ State Dislocated Worker Unit has officially confirmed the company’s notification.
In other Drummond news, union workers at its coal mining operations in Colombia will resume wage talks with the company after both sides failed to reach an agreement, company officials said in a statement quoted by Reuters. Union representatives said they would decide soon whether to strike or pursue arbitration. “Both sides have expressed intent to continue, as a result of which negotiations will resume,” Drummond’s statement said.
Workers seek a salary increase and a fixed monthly pay over hourly wages that can fluctuate based on shift lengths. Miners are also demanding improved safety conditions and more health benefits. For their part, officials at Drummond—the No. 2 Colombian coal miner—have said their offer of a 3.8% increase in 2014, coupled with a one-time bonus of nearly $2,000, is above and beyond established labor mandates.