Canton Daily Ledger - St. Louis ruling makes contracts questionable

Written by Bill Knight, Retired WIU Journalism Professor

Cross posted on Canton Daily Ledger. Read original post here

....Unless the parties come to a new agreement in stalled negotiations, the ruling means that Patriot’s health-care commitments as early as next month could be turned over to the Voluntary Employees Benefits Association, a fund that would be administered by the union. The Mine Workers say Patriot will only guarantee to pay $15 million, plus 20 cents per ton of coal mined, which the UMWA calculates will cover $5 million a year in retiree benefits. Retiree health care for Patriot’s beneficiaries costs almost $7 million a month, the union adds. 

The “decision favors corporate greed over honest, loyal work,” said Green For All CEO Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins. “These workers have given years of service and have risked their lives in the coal mines only to see the benefits they were promised stripped away. It is hard to imagine anything more unpatriotic than what Patriot Coal and its founding companies are doing. We will continue to stand by coal miners and their families.”....

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