UMWA says it will lobby for CARE Act - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

UMWA says it will lobby for CARE Act

Posted: Updated:
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Friends of McDowell County Train Fatality speak out, Ask for Donations

    Friends of McDowell County Train Fatality speak out, Ask for Donations

    Friday, August 22 2014 7:46 PM EDT2014-08-22 23:46:55 GMT
    Tragedy strikes on train tracks in southern West Virginia. One person is dead and two others hurt after coming too close to a train in McDowell County.
    Tragedy strikes on train tracks in southern West Virginia. One person is dead and two others hurt after coming too close to a train in McDowell County.
  • NEW DETAILS: Tips leads to sex offender's capture in Princeton

    NEW DETAILS: Tips leads to sex offender's capture in Princeton

    Friday, August 22 2014 6:22 PM EDT2014-08-22 22:22:55 GMT
    State Troopers out of Princeton, WV confirmed that they are looking for Christopher Lee Tolliver, a registered sex offender. Tolliver was scheduled to have a preliminary hearing on Tuesday Aug. 19, 2014, but failed to show up.
    State Troopers out of Princeton, WV confirmed that they are looking for Christopher Lee Tolliver, a registered sex offender. Tolliver was scheduled to have a preliminary hearing on Tuesday Aug. 19, 2014, but failed to show up.
  • Family left homeless in Raysal, McDowell County after a fire rips through their house

    Family left homeless in Raysal, McDowell County after a fire rips through their house

    Friday, August 22 2014 6:19 PM EDT2014-08-22 22:19:25 GMT
    A fire late Thursday night leaves a family in McDowell County homeless. Everyone was able to get out of the home in Raysal safely, but a friend of the family, who saved their dog, told us it was a very close call.
    A fire late Thursday night leaves a family in McDowell County homeless. Everyone was able to get out of the home in Raysal safely, but a friend of the family, who saved their dog, told us it was a very close call.

The United Mine Workers of America says it will throw its lobbying weight behind legislation designed to designed to protect coal miners from losing their pensions and health care.

The legislation, backed by Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin, as well as Rep. Nick Rahall, was introduced shortly after the UMWA made headlines over its "Fairness at Patriot" campaign. The union has been fighting alterations to collective bargaining agreements and a recent bankruptcy court decision gave Patriot authority to break those contracts.

"The CARE Act will help keep the promise made to our nation's coal miners by the federal government nearly 70 years ago, and supported by both Democrats and Republicans ever since," UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said. "This is not about party, this is not about ideology, this is not even about coal. This is about doing what's right and following through on commitments made to hard-working Americans by their government."

The union says it "will converge on Capitol Hill June 24-26 to urge the passage of the Coalfield Accountability and Retired Employees (CARE) Act (S.468/H.R. 980)."

The bill would amend the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act to transfer excess funds from the Abandoned Mine Land fund to the UMWA 1984 Pension Plan – which now faces potential insolvency. CARE would also make a retiree who loses benefits following a bankruptcy eligible for a benefit plan established under the Coal Act and make employer contributions exempt from taxes, just as other pension plans are currently treated.

The 1974 pension plan covers 100,000 mine workers, including more than 35,000 in West Virginia. That plan is currently under funded due to "the recent financial crisis and fewer contributions to the plan."