One day after the United Mine Workers brought their fight against Patriot, Peabody, and Arch Coal back to Charleston in the form of a massive rally, Patriot has released its own response.

On Tuesday, Patriot Coal released a fact sheet to local media outlets concerning the details behind their current labor proposal to the union. 

In the release, Patriot stated that the current proposal is not aimed at “throwing out” the collective bargaining agreement.

Patriot says its looking to modify union employees’ wages and benefits so that they are in line with the regional labor markets and with non-union workers who do the same jobs at other Patriot operations. 

The Union is adamantly opposed to Patriot’s current bankruptcy proceedings which they say threatens to cutoff retirement healthcare and pension benefits promised in previous contracts by Arch and Peabody.

In the release, Patriot said it’s not proposing to eliminate healthcare or pensions for UMWA retirees, but rather allow for continued healthcare coverage for union retirees at a level that Patriot can afford.

In addition, the release added that Patriot’s current proposal for union retiree benefits is not capped at $15 million or $300 million. The company wants to create a VEBA trust that would be controlled by the UMWA or the UMWA Health and Retirement Funds.

Also in the current proposal, Patriot said the Coal Act and Black Lung beneficiaries will continue to receive their current benefits. They also added that they have filed a lawsuit against Peabody Energy to make sure they don’t use the bankruptcy to reduce their own obligations to retirees.

Since the beginning of the bankruptcy proceedings, the UMWA has blamed Peabody and Arch coal companies for forming Patriot with a design to fail.

Patriot stated that they are merely facing two alternatives, either obtain crucial modifications to collective bargaining agreements with the Union that would allow the company to stay afloat and provide jobs or face likely liquidation.

The company said in the release that failing to make any changes in UMWA employee costs and retiree medical coverage would simply force Patriot into liquidation.

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Comments

  • william d mutters

    It comes down to this the union and company's are going to get all they can no matter who they sacrifice. Till we vote out all the democrats and republicans that's been In office for past 50 years. That don't believe in the constitution actually written for individual rights in united states. Until we change our voting practice in US it will stay this way.
    Just remember a terrorist can kill a 1000 people a politician can destroy a nation.

  • Unconvinced

    How much do these UMWA members pay in dues a year?.... How much money are they wasting on holding rallies and getting people thrown in jail?

    You mean to tell me that the UMWA can't pay for these retirees benefits, last i check they are Union retirees.

    It's sad the the UMWA has their members convinced that the Corporation is the enemy...While sitting on millions.

  • UMWA member L.U. 5958

    Patriot wants to give us cuts while giving the heartless leeches behind this $7million bonuses? They've spent over $17million on lawyers, while taking them to $200/plate lunches? I say enough is enough! What will they want next? What underhanded scheme will they pull next? HOW MANY LIES WILL THEY TELL? I'm sick of their lies! It's time to stand up to ALL of these companies that treat their retirees and employees like this!

  • Rick Bitzer

    To see the entire fact sheet released by Patriot, go to this link:

    http://www.patriotcoal.com/assets//files/Facts%20about%20Patriot%20labor%20proposal.pdf

  • MIKEYD

    they lie and always will ,they are trying to break the union, patriot should be ashamed ,wait and see if the judge is in their pocket and gives them EVERYTHING THEY WANT!

  • Kevin

    These companies makes billions of dollars,and want to give there workers crumbs for pay.. UMWA should fight for there health care,but just remember us coal miners when it comes to fighting for our medical cards that was sold out for a $ 2.00 pay raise

  • derek

    Under the current contract our insurance is 100% coverage. The pay is less than nonunion and we work more hrs. This is total crap it wasn't but a yr ago that electricians made 40 an hr at their non union mines. They agreed to the contract it was fine when they were making 300 dollars a ton.

  • Brian

    Sounds to me like Peabody and Arch had a lot of unfunded obligations, like many corporations have admitted in the past couple decades. It is entirely plausible that they would make Patriot with the intention of letting it fall into bankruptcy in an attempt to jettison some of their obligations while insulating the real companies. That would be why they want the union to take over the administration of the benefits. They know they are not responsible enough to be trusted to properly fund their promises, so they attempt to throw off a desperately underfunded liability onto the union and blame them when it fails.

    I would be interested in seeing the real number comparisons of what they pay union vs. non-union guys. I know unions make it hard on employers, but the coal industry continues to demonstrate that they cannot be trusted to deal fairly and legally with miners. Even with unions, these companies refuse to comply with safety regulations, and without unions, the miners would probably still be spending their meager paychecks at the company store.

  • WV Citizen

    Hey metronews
    Print the entire proposal submitted by Patriot Coal so we can see how much the coal company is asking for. Hourly wages and medical retirees contributions and retirement contributions. Just saying they want to be competetive doesn't cut it. Evidently they have a least 6-7 million in reserve to give the penhouse employees a bonus. Mr. Brinks how about a link to view it!

  • David

    "Patriot says its looking to modify union employees’ wages and benefits so that they are in line with the regional labor markets and with non-union workers who do the same jobs at other Patriot operations."

    Looks like they are going to want more work and more coal, and give the workers less money!!! Corperate America for ya!!!! The workers get paid crap, while the ones in the office pad their pockets!!!! And you all wonder where the middle-class went?!?!

  • wvman75

    "The company wants to create a VEBA trust that would be controlled by the UMWA or the UMWA Health and Retirement Funds."

    No wonder union membership is worried. They should be if this comes to pass.