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UMWA, Foundation reach agreements, strike ends

April 12, 2007

The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) and affiliates of Foundation Coal Holdings, Inc., have reached agreements at all three mines where the UMWA has been on strike for the last week, the union announced today.

"We have successfully concluded negotiations with Foundation's affiliates Cumberland Coal Resources, LP, Emerald Coal Resources, LP, and Wabash Mine Holding Company today," UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said. "As of now, our pickets have been withdrawn and our members are preparing to go to work tomorrow."
Roberts said that specifics of the agreement would not be released until the local unions had been briefed later this evening. "I can say, however, that the union was able to maintain the national contract pattern in all respects at the Cumberland and Emerald mines, and indeed negotiated improvements in the national agreement in several areas.
"We have also negotiated a significant severance package in terms of pay and future retiree health care benefits for the miners at the Wabash mine in Illinois," Roberts said. The company announced the closure of that mine on April 4, citing aged infrastructure, soft market conditions and geologic challenges as reasons for the closure. "One very important part of the agreement with Wabash will give those miners rights to jobs at Cumberland and Emerald as positions come open, which is likely to happen very rapidly," Roberts said.
Another provision of the agreement with Wabash gives the UMWA successorship rights for the next five years to a large section of the seam of coal that was being mined at Wabash. "If Wabash or any other company comes in and mines that block of coal, they will do it with UMWA members, with the 2007 national agreement in effect," Roberts said.
"We sincerely wish that we could have concluded this agreement last week before the strike began," Roberts said. "But we are gratified that we have been able to reach this agreement after just a short work stoppage. Our negotiating team -- Marty Hudson, Executive Assistant to the President; Ed Yankovich, International District 2 Vice President, and the officers of all three affected local unions -- did an outstanding job and deserve the thanks of every member. Secretary-Treasurer Kane joins me in commending them.
“The strength and solidarity displayed by our members at all three mines over this past week have been simply outstanding," Roberts said. "It was clear to all concerned that they were sticking together and were not going to back down. I commend them, their families and their communities for their tremendous unity and sense of common purpose. We would not be able to make this announcement today without that."

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