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UMWA members overwhelmingly ratify new national contract

June 17, 2011
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[TRIANGLE, VA] Members of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) overwhelmingly ratified a new, 5-½ year collective bargaining agreement with the Bituminous Coal Operators Association (BCOA) in a nationwide vote today, with 70% voting in favor of the agreement. The agreement received a strong majority in each of the Union’s six Districts.

“Our members will receive the largest pay increase in the 121-year history of our union,” UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said. “In addition, we were able to preserve full  health care benefits for active and retired members and their dependants, as well as preserve pensions for current and future retirees with no cuts in benefits.

“The membership saw clearly that this agreement provides a strong measure of security for themselves and their families for the next 5-½ years, and they voted accordingly,” Roberts said. “I’m humbled that they so strongly endorsed our efforts at the bargaining table.”

Even though the agreement is initially with the BCOA companies, other coal companies – like Patriot Coal, Alpha Natural Resources, Cliffs Natural Resources, Jim Walter Resources and others – will be bound by the pension language included in the new agreement because they are part of the UMWA Health and Retirement Funds.

“We will be taking this agreement to the other companies immediately, and looking for them to agree to the entire contract,” Roberts said. “Our message to them will be simple: This is the industry-wide agreement. This is the agreement our members who work at your operations overwhelmingly ratified, and we will accept no less.”

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