U.S. Mine Workers Rally for Pension Payments

first_imgU.S. Mine Workers Rally for Pension Payments FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享From the Associated Press:Thousands of retired coal miners rallied Tuesday in Kentucky to call on Congress to protect their benefits as the industry struggles and operators seek bankruptcy protection from debts.United Mine Workers president Cecil Roberts told the gathering in Lexington of about 4,000 members from seven states that miners spent their lives working in dangerous places to provide the nation’s electricity and steel. The miners, some of whom arrived in wheelchairs, don’t deserve having their benefits put in jeopardy, Roberts said.“What do they want these people to do, get out of their wheelchairs and go back to the mines?” Roberts remarked after the rally.Roberts, who is popular among the union membership for his fiery oratorical style, told the crowd, “America owes us, and we will collect on that debt.”He added, “You want to know what the problem is? Millionaires and billionaires cannot stand the thought that a coal miner has health care as good as they have.”The union said about 22,000 retired union miners would lose health care benefits if federal legislation they are touting isn’t enacted this year. Those miners’ benefits are at risk because they worked for companies, including Patriot Coal and Arch Coal, that declared bankruptcy in recent years.The bankruptcies and a depressed U.S. coal market have decreased contributions to the pension fund by two-thirds from last year’s levels, according to the union. The union is also reeling, especially in Kentucky, which no longer has any mines that employ members of the United Mine Workers.Currently about 89,000 union members or widows are receiving a pension, according to the union.With benefits at risk, coal miner union rallies in Kentuckylast_img

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