Tire Spikes Placed Outside Warrior Met Christmas Party Saturday

TUSCALOOSA, AL — A criminal investigation is underway after police say someone placed several homemade caltrop spikes in the parking lot of the North River Yacht Club Saturday night during a Christmas party held for employees of Warrior Met Coal in Brookwood.

The small spikes — also referred to as “jackrocks” or “crow’s feet” — are handmade metal barbs designed to drastically limit or deny vehicle entry to certain locations.

An example of a caltrop spike (Wikipedia Commons)

While TPD did not explicitly mention the party as part of its confirmation, sources and a slew of social media posts showed that the Brookwood coal producer hosted a Christmas gala at the venue Saturday night for non-union employees not on the picket line.

TPD spokeswoman Stephanie Taylor said officers attempted to locate and retrieve all of the spikes, but at least six vehicles sustained tire damage after running over them.

“Investigators are looking into the possibility that it’s related to the ongoing strike,” she said. “There could’ve been many more disabled vehicles if the security guard hadn’t noticed the spikes when he did.”

Sunday marks 612 days since United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) went on strike at Warrior Met Coal in Brookwood after negotiations broke down relating to a new collective bargaining agreement. In total, more than 1,100 union members walked off the job last year and have been protesting for the return of their pay to levels seen prior to the bankruptcy of Walter Energy — the company that would be rebranded as Warrior Met Coal.

The two sides also seem no closer to coming to the negotiating table for an amicable settlement, with Warrior Met reporting a strong financial position, even in the face of the protracted strike and unprecedented economic turbulence.

Indeed, as Patch reported earlier this week, Warrior Met Coal in its third quarter earnings report said total revenues were $390.2 million for the third quarter of 2022, which is nearly double the $202.5 million reported in the third quarter of 2021.

Over the last year and a half, the situation has spurred numerous instances of sabotage and violence, beginning in June 2021 when UMWA reported three separate incidents of vehicular assault that occurred on the legal picket lines over the course of three days.

As Patch previously reported, the union said the violence raised questions about the company’s response to the strike, as two separate videos posted on YouTube showed the incidents in question.

The finger-pointing by both sides would intensify later that month, as Warrior Met Coal offered a $10,000 reward for more information on damage to equipment caused on three separate occasions in the previous two months.

The company said the alleged act of sabotage focused on electrical transmission and distribution equipment, with the Alabama Mining Association (AMA) speculating the damage was intentionally caused on the evenings of May 15, June 1, or June 12.

What’s more, the following March saw the Alabama Mining Association announce another reward in the amount of $25,000 for information relating to an “explosive device attack” on a methane gas line operated by a subsidiary of Warrior Met Coal in the area of Hannah Creek Road and Sandlin Mountain Road in Brookwood.

In September, the National Labor Relations Board recalculated assessed damages that would be handed down to the labor union, coming out to approximately $435,000 plus interest.

UMWA said in a state that this total conforms to the amount the union had been told it would be charged, saying: “We are ready to pay that amount, put this behind us and negotiate a fair and reasonable contract with Warrior Met Coal that will settle this strike. Let’s get this done.”

No arrests have been made in the caltrop spikes incident Saturday and no suspects have been announced at this time.

Those with more information into this case are asked to call the Tuscaloosa Police Department at (205) 349-2121

Have a news tip or suggestion on how I can improve Tuscaloosa Patch? Maybe you’re interested in having your business become one of the latest sponsors for Tuscaloosa Patch? Email all inquiries to me at ryan.phillips@patch.com

Read More: Tire Spikes Placed Outside Warrior Met Christmas Party Saturday

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