UMWA-Patriot agreement avoids bitter struggle - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

UMWA-Patriot agreement avoids bitter struggle

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Thankfully, it looks like the United Mine Workers of America and Patriot Coal have come to an agreement on retirees' health care benefits. Earlier this year, a federal bankruptcy judge allowed the company to throw out previously negotiated union contracts and significantly reduce benefits. This week, both the UMWA and Patriot confirmed that a settlement has been reached and will now be taken to union members for ratification. Details of the proposal have not been announced, but both UMWA President Cecil Roberts and Patriot President and CEO Ben Hatfield said in separate statements that each side came together and worked hard to find common ground.

This seems to be a pleasant end to what was an incredibly acrimonious situation and one that had many worried about employer obligations. Patriot was right to come back to the bargaining table, and UMWA leaders showed they're willing to work for their members and ensure that promises made are promises kept. Developing a workable, lasting solution made sense for all involved. Retirees get to keep their benefits and Patriot claims this will put it on solid footing for the future. Rather than continue to drag this out and create uncertainty for everyone, we laud both sides for coming together and hammering out a deal.