|Retired miners, spouses, children in Lexington. (Herald-Leader)|
UMWA said that "22,000 retired union miners, widows or dependents—including about 3,200 in Kentucky— would lose health care benefits at the end of the year if federal legislation they are backing isn’t enacted this year," reports the Herald-Leader. "Benefits are at risk because the miners worked for companies, including Patriot Coal and Arch Coal, that declared bankruptcy in recent years. Monthly pension checks also could be cut."
"The bankruptcies and a depressed U.S. coal market have decreased contributions to the pension fund by two-thirds from last year’s levels, according to the union," reports the Herald-Leader. "The union is reeling, especially in Kentucky, which no longer has any mines that employ UMWA members. Currently about 89,000 union members or widows are receiving a pension, according to the union. Almost 10,000 retirees in Kentucky could see pension cuts without Congressional action, according to the UMWA," which is running TV commercials in Kentucky and West Virginia, and perhaps elsewhere, to put pressure on congressional Republicans. The office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Kentucky senator "remains committed to helping ensure the retirement security of our nation's retirees, including coal miners."