ST. LOUIS, May 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Peabody Energy’s Big Ridge, Inc. subsidiary today filed objections with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and requested that a new election be held based on numerous instances of intimidation and threats, coercion and fraudulent conduct affecting the recent United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) election at the Willow Lake Mine in Illinois.
A close election conducted by the NLRB on May 19 and 20 resulted in a slim majority of 219 to 206 workers voting in favor of UMWA representation. The UMWA campaigned to replace the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, which had formerly represented the Willow Lake workforce.
The filing states that, during the election campaign, union advocates threatened employees and their families with bodily harm, contributing to an atmosphere of coercion that interfered with employees’ free choice. False and fabricated UMWA documents were also distributed during the campaign. All of these acts contributed to fear and confusion that prevented employees from exercising their rights to choose and speak for themselves regarding their working conditions.
Peabody Energy believes that employees have the right to choose to be represented or union free. Incumbent in that choice is the right to a free and fair election, unfettered by intimidation, fear and misinformation. The workforce at Willow Lake was not afforded that opportunity.