EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSUMWA Members Ratify Contract With Patriot Coal
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Rachael Tarr
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Reported: Aug. 16, 2013 1:14 PM EDT
Updated: Aug. 17, 2013 11:16 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Members of the United Mine Workers of America ratified a contract with Patriot Coal Friday.
The union reached the agreement with the company late last week. UMWA representatives said the settlement makes significant improvements in terms and conditions of employment over a federal Bankruptcy Judge's order from last May.
The final tally was 85 percent in favor to 15 percent opposed. Members from 13 local unions in West Virginia and Kentucky participated in the vote.
"The membership has made 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," UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said in a news release.
U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller praised Roberts leadership on the deal.
'Thanks to the incredible leadership of UMWA President Cecil Roberts, the settlement reached between Patriot Coal and the UMWA is a ray of hope for Patriot miners and retirees after their hard-earned pensions and health care benefits were jeopardized by May's court decision," Rockefeller said in a news release. 'Cecil waged a hard fought battle on behalf of his members who have suffered heartbreak in return for their loyalty and service to the industry for far too long."
Voting on a new contract offer for Patriot Coal workers was under way on Friday.
An estimated 1,800 members of the United Mine Workers of America are casting ballots at mine sites in West Virginia and Kentucky.
A tentative agreement was reached by both sides earlier this week. They were negotiating for new employment terms and retiree health care benefits.
Results were expected Friday evening.
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