FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AUGUST 12, 2016
[TRIANGLE, VA.] Members of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) today voted to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement at six Murray Energy mines in northern West Virginia and Ohio as well as support facilities and idled operations, with 60.3 percent voting in favor of the contract.
“This was a tough vote for our members to take,” UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said. “The coal industry is in a depression and more than 50 companies have filed for bankruptcy in the last few years. Thousands have been laid off. The pressures on those who are still working are tremendous and growing.
“But despite all that, our members took a courageous stand by voting to try to keep their company operating while maintaining the best wages, benefits and working conditions in the American coal industry,” Roberts said.
The new five-year agreement maintains wages at current levels and includes a wage reopener after three years. Health care benefits for active and retired workers and their dependents remain intact, with slight increases in out-of-pocket costs but no monthly premiums. Total annual days off from work are initially reduced, but many of those days are regained over the life of the agreement. Importantly, Murray Energy agreed to remain in the UMWA 1974 Pension Plan.
“In addition to the courage shown by our membership, I want to express my thanks to all those Local Union, District and International leaders who worked so hard on achieving this agreement,” Roberts said. “They did outstanding work.”