Patriot moving forward with UMWA benefit reductions - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Patriot moving forward with UMWA benefit reductions

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Patriot Coal Corp. said it will move forward with benefits cuts to its union mine employees and retirees as approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

A judge ruled that a proposed plan put forth by Patriot was an acceptable compromise given the company's bankruptcy status. The United Mine Workers of America contested the plan and has been in negotiations with the company seeking a better deal.

"Patriot Coal Corporation announced that recent talks with the UMWA have resulted in substantial progress toward a consensual resolution," a company-issued statement read. "On July 1, 2013, Patriot exercised the authority granted to it by the Bankruptcy Court to implement changes to wages, benefits and active employee healthcare, but chose to implement terms that are significantly improved from those approved by the court.  Patriot and the UMWA are continuing to meet in a diligent effort to resolve the outstanding differences and reach a consensual agreement."

The company says retiree healthcare will continue at current levels through July and August, with completion of a final resolution to be presented to UMWA members by the end of July.