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UMWA responds to Walter bankruptcy

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World Coal,

The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) has called Walter Energy’s filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and planned restructuring as “yet another indication of just how troubled the American coal industry is today”.

“Walter does not produce coal for the energy market; it mines metallurgical-grade coal that is a raw material in steel production,” said UMWA President Cecil E. Roberts. “Increasing competition from other countries in a shrinking worldwide steel market has caused metallurgical coal prices to plunge to levels not seen for years.”

According to Roberts, the UMWA has already put in place a team of lawyers and financial experts to work alongside the union’s in-house bankruptcy team to meet with the company and “ensure our members’ voices are part of this process going forward.”

“It is important for our members working at Walter Energy facilities to know that nothing has changed with respect to their terms and conditions of employment,” Roberts concluded. “Any changes that may come would only be as a result of a judge’s order months from now. It’s also important for retirees to know that their pensions are not affected by this filing, and their health care benefits will remain intact while this bankruptcy process plays out.”

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