Tuesday, March 26, 2013

West Virginia House wants bankrupt Patriot Coal to honor promises to retired miners

Coal miners protest March 19 in St. Louis.
Stephanie Cordle/St. Louis Post-Dispatch

When Patriot Coal Corp. filed for bankruptcy March 14, the company said it was "seeking to modify collective bargaining agreements with the United Mine Workers of America and to obtain critical financial relief in a timeframe that avoids severe business disruption," reported The Wall Street Journal. "The proposed modifications include the establishment of a Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association trust to provide healthcare for UMWA-represented retirees, as well as changes to wages, benefits and work rules for UMWA-represented employees."

On Monday West Virginia's House of Delegates called on Patriot "to honor its promises to 23,000 retired miners and their families," reports The Associated Press. "A non-binding measure adopted 93-4 decries the threatened loss of pension and retiree health benefits. Estimating its liability at $1.6 billion, Patriot has warned it must end coverage for 10,000 retired miners and 13,000 dependents without court-approved relief."

"This has happened to steel-line workers, airline workers, bakery workers, glass workers and now mine workers," House Majority Leader Mike Caputo said. "Enough is enough. It's time to take a stand." (Read more)

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