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Cliffs Natural Resources signs national coal agreement with UMWA

September 1, 2011
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[TRIANGLE, VA] – The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) and Cliffs Natural Resources agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement yesterday that is substantially the same as the National Bituminous Coal Wage Agreement (NBCWA) already signed by the Bituminous Coal Operators Association (including Consol Energy) and Alpha Natural Resources.

“I am extremely pleased that Cliffs has agreed to the terms and conditions of the contract,” UMWA International President Cecil Roberts said today. “This agreement means that the miners at the Cliffs mines where the UWMA represents the workers are getting a substantial pay increase, maintaining their pensions, and keeping the best health care benefits in the world.

“I commend UMWA International District 17 Vice President Joe Carter and International District 20 Vice President Daryl Dewberry for guiding these negotiations to a successful conclusion,” Roberts said. “Because of their leadership, nearly 900 more miners will be covered by this agreement in West Virginia and Alabama.”

The agreement covers approximately 425 UMWA members at the Pinnacle mine in Wyoming County, W. Va., and 450 members at the Oak Grove mine and preparation plant in Jefferson County, Ala. The agreement includes a total of $6 per hour in wage increases, continued family health care benefits, and defined-benefit pensions, among other provisions.    

The miners at both those mines voted to ratify the NBCWA in June. Since the agreement with Cliffs is almost exactly the same, with a few minor local issues included, there is no need for a new ratification vote. The agreement is retroactive to July 1, 2011, and is effective through Dec. 31, 2016.

“Discussions are ongoing with other coal companies, including Patriot Coal, Jim Walters Resources, Drummond and others regarding signing the NBCWA,” Roberts said. “We look forward to getting their agreement to this contract as soon as possible.”

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