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

UMWA-Patriot agreement avoids bitter struggle

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    Business community must raise a voice against status quo

    Friday, August 29 2014 9:00 AM EDT2014-08-29 13:00:23 GMT
    As our state's business leaders gather at The Greenbrier this week for the 2014 West Virginia Business Summit, we hope they have a sense of urgency and realize what they must do to bring this state into the 21st century.
    As our state's business leaders gather at The Greenbrier this week for the 2014 West Virginia Business Summit, we hope they have a sense of urgency and realize what they must do to bring this state into the 21st century.
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    Lesson from Ferguson: Do not lose hope

    Friday, August 22 2014 8:00 AM EDT2014-08-22 12:00:24 GMT
    The images from Ferguson, Missouri, look like snapshots from a war zone. We still don't know why city police officer Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown, but we do know the fallout shines a glaring light on what happens when scores of people are disconnected from the American Dream.
    The images from Ferguson, Missouri, look like snapshots from a war zone. We still don't know why city police officer Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown, but we do know the fallout shines a glaring light on what happens when scores of people are disconnected from the American Dream.
  • Political bickering overshadows need for change

    Political bickering overshadows need for change

    Friday, August 15 2014 11:39 AM EDT2014-08-15 15:39:41 GMT
    New ideas and ways to move our state and nation forward are in short supply during this election season.
    New ideas and ways to move our state and nation forward are in short supply during this election season.

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.