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Religious Leaders Call on Peabody Energy to Respect Workers’ Rights

ST. LOUIS – Ministers from Religious Leaders for Coalfield Justice (RLCJ) presented a statement signed by over 500 religious leaders to a senior Peabody Energy executive here today, calling on the company to respect workers’ rights at its coal mines.

The signatories consist of pastors, priests, deacons, rabbis, and other religious leaders from the coalfields and across the nation, including 62 judicatory heads and 5 heads of national faith denominations.

“We support the efforts of miners who work in Peabody Energy’s non-union mines to gain dignity, respect, fairness and safety on the job by forming a union with the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA),” the religious leaders said in their statement. “Coal mining is dangerous and demanding work. The workers in this industry endure peril daily to help provide for our nation’s energy needs.”

The religious leaders’ statement, entitled “A Call for Justice at Peabody Energy,” urges the nation’s largest coal company “to be truly neutral with respect to employees’ rights to form or join a union and to voluntarily recognize a union when a majority of their employees sign authorizations.” The statement mirrors the endorsement of over 43 religious and community organizations calling for corporations to allow workers to organize through card check (majority verification) neutrality agreements.

“If Peabody will embrace ethical teachings including respect for the right of workers to form unions without threats, intimidation and harassment, it will serve the long-term interests of the workers, the community and the company,” said Tena Willemsma, one of the conveners of RLCJ and Executive Director of the Commission on Religion in Appalachia.”

Workers at non-union Peabody mines and the UMWA launched the Justice at Peabody campaign on Dec. 9, 2005 to call on Peabody Energy to adopt a card check neutrality agreement so that workers could organize free from threats, intimidation and harassment.

RLCJ leaders delivered the signed statement and expressed their concerns about mine workers’ rights to senior Peabody Energy executives at the company’s corporate headquarters here today.

Religious Leaders for Coalfield Justice is a national organization of religious leaders committed to justice for coal miners and other residents of coal communities.


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