UMWA delivers 1,700 letters from retirees and widows to congressional pension committee



[WASHINGTON, D.C.] The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) today delivered 1,756 letters written by UMWA retirees, their families and widows to the Joint Select Committee on the Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Funds, asking the Committee to take action to preserve the pensions they earned in a lifetime of hard, dangerous work.

“This committee holds the lives of millions in their hands, yet they heard from just four of them — and only one UMWA member — during the hearings it has held over the six months of its existence,” UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said. “That’s simply outrageous, and we thought it would be good for them to hear from more of those whose lives are at stake.

The committee is supposed to make recommendations by Nov. 30 to the rest of Congress as to how to prevent pension funds like the UMWA 1974 Plan from failing. The committee has no further hearings or public meetings scheduled and has discussed no bipartisan solutions in any public forum.

“I hope the committee members take the time to read at least a small fraction of these letters,” Roberts said. “They will find stories of long years of hard work, injuries on the job, occupational disease, faith, military service and a commitment to our country. They will understand what these retirees did to earn their pensions and what will happen if they lose them.

“Their pensions are at risk through no fault of their own and Congress is the only body that can save them,” Roberts said. “They have no more time to wait. It is time for this committee to do what it is supposed to do and preserve their pensions.”