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BlackRock's support sought in bid to end 5-month coal mine strike

Strikers have turned to the world's largest asset manager for help in improving their conditions.

Members of United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) and other labor leaders bow in prayer during a picket outside BlackRocks Headquarters in New York City | Photo: Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

Coal miners from states including Alabama and West Virginia picketed outside BlackRock Inc.’s New York headquarters Wednesday in a bid to get the world’s largest asset manager to pressure Warrior Met Coal Inc. for better wages and employee benefits.

About 120 miners and supporters descended on BlackRock’s offices in midtown Manhattan, carrying signs that read "we are one," chanting in unison and speaking out against their treatment by the coal company. Union members from other industries joined the picket line, while truck drivers and garbage men who drove by honked in solidarity. BlackRock was listed as Warrior Met’s biggest shareholder as recently as March 31.

More than 1,000 miners represented by the United Mine Workers of America have been on strike for almost five months as they pursue a new collective-bargaining agreement with Warrior Met, a Brockwood, Alabama-based miner of metallurgical coal used in steel making. The workers are seeking support from BlackRock, arguing the asset manager has allowed the coal company to exploit them in labor negotiations and on the job.

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