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UMWA reaches agreement with Peabody Energy on new 5-year agreement

February 9, 2007

United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil E. Roberts told a meeting of UMWA local union officers who had gathered in Charleston, W. Va., today to discuss a looming strike against Peabody Energy that the union has reached an agreement with the company for a new five-year contract.
"This agreement mirrors the Bituminous Coal Operators' Association (BCOA) agreement in every respect," Roberts said, referring to the agreement the UMWA negotiated with the BCOA in late December of last year. "Peabody has agreed to the terms and conditions of the National Bituminous Coal Wage Agreement at every mine where the previous agreement had expired.
Roberts noted that the current agreement at Peabody's Highland mine in western Kentucky does not expire until the end of 2007. "We have been and will continue to talk with the company about accepting the provisions of the national agreement at that mine either before the current agreement expires there or at the expiration of that agreement," he said.
"We believe this is a fair agreement for our members," Roberts said. "It's also a fair agreement for Peabody, just as it is for every other coal company, no matter where they operate--be it West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Alabama or the Midwest. It meets both the miners' and the companies' needs as our industry moves forward to continue meeting America's power generation demands.
"This victory is largely due to the strength and unity of our members," Roberts said. "Without their solidarity, Peabody would not have gotten the message that we were serious about getting the national agreement at all the Peabody mines that were working without a new contract. But the company eventually got that message, and they understood that our members were willing to stand together and do whatever it took to get a new agreement."
Like the BCOA agreement, the Peabody contract calls for an immediate across-the-board raise of $1.50 per hour, and a total wage increase of $4.00 per hour over the life of the agreement. Peabody has agreed to make these increases retroactive to January 1 of this year. UMWA members will also receive a $1,000 bonus.
The contract maintains current health care benefits and makes improvements in prescription drug formularies. Members with 19 or more years of service will receive another vacation day, and there are increases in the clothing allowance, sickness and accident coverage, life insurance, and other benefits. As a contributor to the UMWA Health and Retirement Funds, Peabody was already locked into the pension increases that were negotiated with the BCOA.
UMWA members working at Peabody mines voted to ratify the BCOA agreement in late December 2006. Since this agreement is not different from the BCOA agreement, they will not have to vote again.

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