EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSUMWA, Patriot Meeting To Work Out Details On Deal
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Kallie Cart
Web Producer: Heath Harrison
Also Contributing: Phil Smith
Reported: Aug. 12, 2013 11:32 AM EDT
Updated: Aug. 14, 2013 10:35 PM EDT
An agreement has been reached between Patriot Coal and the United Mine Workers of America.
Groups met at the Civic Center in Charleston Wednesday to hash things out on an agreement pertaining to new employment terms and health care benefits for retirees.
It's a big change, considering, not long ago, a federal bankruptcy judge allowed Patriot to reject collective bargaining agreements and modify retiree benefits.
Union representatives said the new agreement is a step in the right direction.
Nothing is set in stone just yet. Union members still have to vote on the agreement, which they will do Friday.
The United Mine Workers of America announced that the union reached a settlement Monday with Patriot Coal.
The company made the announcement in a press release stating that the agreement came with new terms and conditions of employment that makes "significant improvements over what federal Bankruptcy Judge Kathy Surratt-States ordered on May 29, and what Patriot implemented on July 1," according to the news release from Phil Smith, director of communications for the UMWA.
“After several weeks of nearly around-the-clock negotiations, I believe we have reached something that can be taken to the membership for ratification,” UMWA International President Cecil Roberts said. “We have been able to restore, or at least improve upon, many of the most drastic changes that the judge ordered, including in the area of wages, health care benefits, paid time off, pensions, and more. In addition, we have negotiated a mechanism that will allow retiree health care benefits to continue.”
The vote is set to happen Aug. 16. About 1,800 active or laid-off members in West Virginia and Kentucky are eligible to vote. The union will not release details of the settlement until after those members have had a chance to hear its terms.
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