CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The details of a proposed contract between the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) and Patriot Coal were outlined in Charleston Wednesday for active and retired union members.
International President Cecil Roberts made the presentation in Charleston while International Secretary Treasurer Dan Kane led a similar discussion in Evansville, Indiana.
According to a release from the union, the contract agreement, which was announced by the UMWA and Patriot Coal on Monday, involves improvements in both health care and benefits. Those improvements include:
*The restoration of all but $1.00 per hour in wage cuts that were as high as $7.53 per hour for some job classifications;
*A $0.50 per hour annual wage increase beginning New Year’s Day 2015;
*Patriot will remain in the UMWA 1974 Pension Fund, meaning there will be no affect on pension benefits for current retirees, and currently active members will continue to earn pension credit;
*The monthly premiums for health care benefits will be eliminated;
*The annual out-of-pocket maximum for health care benefits will be reduced by 60 percent, from $4,000 to $1,600;
*Life insurance benefits, vision care benefits, dental insurance and Accidental Death and Dismemberment insurance will also be restored;
*A Voluntary Employee Benefit Association (VEBA) will be created as the mechanism for paying retiree health care benefits going forward. In addition, Patriot gave the union a 35-38 percent stake in the company as part of the settlement.
In the release, Roberts stated that this agreement significantly improves upon what federal Bankruptcy Judge Kathy Surratt-States ordered on May 29.
“I told Patriot management that I could not recommend that our members work under the Judge’s order, and they understood that we would not,” Roberts said in the release. “That understanding enabled us to work out this settlement over the past months since the order came down.”
A vote on the proposed deal for those laid-off workers in West Virginia and Kentucky will come Friday.