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UMWA continues to urge action on retiree benefits

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World Coal,

The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) has urged US Congress to act to ensure health care and pension benefits continue for coal retirees in the final session of its two-year term.

“The first step to addressing the problems that exist in the coalfields is to ensure that the health case and pensions thousands of retirees worked their entire lives for are preserved,” said UMWA International President, Cecil Roberts.

“Failure to do so this year will only lead to more unemployment and misery in an area of the country that has seen more than its share of both,” Roberts continued. “Congress needs to act in the coming lame-duck session to get this done and provide the jump-start toward revitalising the coalfields that is so badly needed.”

Roberts also commented on Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election, noting that the president elect has “spoken many times about addressing the serious economic disaster that is affecting large areas of Appalachia and other coal-producing areas of our countries by putting coal miners back to work.”

“No one is more interested in doing just exactly that then the UMWA,” Roberts concluded.

Trump carried many coal-producing states, including West Virginia, in the heart of Appalachia, where he took 68.7% of the vote, and the crucial state of Pennsylvania, where he squeezed a narrow victory over rival Hillary Clinton on the back of votes from disaffected communities in the state’s traditional coal and steelmaking communities.

The UMWA did not endorse either candidate in the presidential election.

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