August 14, 2013
Washington, DC -- The National Consumers League, the nation’s pioneering consumer and worker advocacy organization, congratulates members of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) who work at Patriot Coal plants in Kentucky and West Virginia for ratifying a settlement the union reached with the company.
“We are gratified for our UMWA brothers and sisters, active workers and retirees alike, that a settlement with the company has been reached. We applaud union members for making it clear that they are willing to do their part to keep Patriot operating, keep their jobs, and ensure that thousands of retirees continue getting the health care they depend on and deserve,” said Sally Greenberg, the League’s Executive Director.
“This agreement will provide a way forward for current mine workers to continue in their jobs, provide for their families, and be strong economic drivers of their local communities. We realize that the current agreement will not provide lifetime health benefits to retired worker, but we are hopeful that Congress will enact legislation that ensures the government’s promises to provide health care to retired miners is kept.”
NCL has long been allied with the cause of American workers and has a close and abiding relationship with the UMWA. In 2012, NCL honored UMWA President Cecil Roberts with the Trumpeter Award, NCL’s highest honor.
In April of this year, NCL joined a protest in St. Louis aimed at Patriot Coal’s bankruptcy that placed in jeopardy the pension and heath care benefits of UMWA retirees. NCL believes that Patriot was set up to fail when it was formed by Peabody with more liabilities than assets in 2007. We stand with our brothers and sisters at the UMWA and will continue to pressure legislators, Peabody, and Arch, to live up to the agreements they made with workers. There’s no harder or more arduous job than going down into the mines for 12 hours a day. The work results in ailments from breathing in coal dust and Black Lung disease to injuries caused by the hard labor involved in mining. It’s only fair that these miners and their families get good lifetime health care and a decent retirement plan.
About the National Consumers League
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.