CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) â¿¿ The United Mine Workers of America says it's eager to meet with Alpha Natural Resources Inc. and negotiate a contract for 85 workers that the former Massey Energy refused to hire.

The National Labor Relations Board ruled Friday that Massey's Mammoth Coal acted illegally in refusing to hire former union employees when it purchasing a Kanawha County mine out of bankruptcy in 2004.

Massey went out of its way to ensure a non-union operation, hiring only 19 former miners out of 219 total. The board ordered Virginia-based Alpha, which now owns those companies, to offer the 85 workers jobs and back pay.

Alpha is considering whether to appeal.

Union President Cecil Roberts calls the ruling a huge victory. He said Monday it's time the workers get the contract they deserve.

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