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UMWA, Patriot subsidiaries reach agreements covering more than 1,900 miners

date: 
September 28, 2011
For immediate release?: 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

[TRIANGLE, VA] The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) and several subsidiaries of Patriot Coal Corp. reached collective bargaining agreements late yesterday that will cover more than 1,900 workers at coal operations in West Virginia and Kentucky.

“We are very happy to reach this agreement,” UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said today. “There are now more than 6,000 UMWA members who are covered under a new collective bargaining agreement. We were able to negotiate good pay increases, and at a time when more and more employers are shifting health care costs onto the backs of their workers, we were able to maintain our health care with no changes whatsoever.

“Our members work very hard – most of them for ten hours a day, six days a week,” Roberts said. “They put their health – indeed, their very lives – on the line every hour they are at work so that Americans can keep their lights on, their computers running, their homes heated and cooled. Our members are proud of the work they do and the role they play in America’s economy. They have earned the fair pay and good benefits they will receive under this agreement.”

“I want to commend UMWA Secretary-Treasurer Dan Kane, who worked very hard to get this agreement done with the companies,” Roberts said. “Collective bargaining negotiations are never easy. Negotiating in the current economic climate is even more difficult, and he did an outstanding job.”

The union negotiated agreements with Patriot subsidiaries at the Federal No. 2, Hobet Apogee, Black Oak and Pine Ridge mines in West Virginia, as well as preparation plants associated with those and other West Virginia mines. Agreements were also negotiated with Patriot subsidiaries operating the company’s Highland mine and Heritage preparation plant in Kentucky.

The agreements, which will be retroactive to July 1, 2011, reflect the agreement the union reached with the Bituminous Coal Operators Association (BCOA) in June. They include annual pay increases with no cuts in health care benefits or pension benefits for active workers, as well as maintaining full health care and pension benefits for retirees.

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