Rank and file members of the United Mine Workers of America have ratified a new 5 1/2-year contract with Bituminous Coal Operators Association that will garner workers a hefty hike on their paychecks.
Our members will receive the largest pay increase in the 121-year history of our union,” UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said.“In addition, we were able to preserve full health care benefits for active and retired members and their dependents, as well as preserve pensions for current and future retirees with no cuts in benefits."
The contract was given the favorable nod by 70 percent of union members who participated in the voting. According to Phil Smith, director of communications for the UMWA, the overwhelming vote showed strong support of the contract throughout the Union's six districts.
“The membership saw clearly that this agreement provides a strong measure of security for themselves and their families for the next 5-½ years, and they voted accordingly,” Roberts said. “I’m humbled that they so strongly endorsed our efforts at the bargaining table.”
The new contract will be in effect for mining companies that are members of the BCOA. Also several other companies such as Patriot Coal and Alpha Natural Resources will honor the pact as well. Smith said this is because they are part of the UMWA Health and Retirement Funds.
“We will be taking this agreement to the other companies immediately, and looking for them to agree to the entire contract,” Roberts said. “Our message to them will be simple: This is the industry-wide agreement”
He said union members would not accept anything less.