Members of the United Mine Workers of America who work at Patriot Coal in West Virginia and Kentucky av un have reached a decision regarding the settlement they made with Patriot Coal last week.
According to the union, 85% of the voters were in favor of this settlement. All the details haven't been released yet, but a press release says it makes significant improvements in terms and conditions of employment compared to what a federal bankruptcy judge ordered in May.
UMWA International President Cecil Roberts said the membership has made it clear that they will do what they need to, to keep Patriot running, as well to keep their jobs and look out for the retirees.
However, he also said the deal doesn't provide enough resources to fulfill the promise of lifetime health care benefits that Peabody and Arch agreed to provide to thousands of retirees from those companies.
"We are now able to turn our full attention to securing the lifetime health care benefits Peabody and Arch promised these retirees," said Roberts.
According to Roberts, the settlement didn't fully solve the problem but rather gives them more time to seek a more permanent solution.
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., released a statement in response to the agreement reached.
He said, "In today's toxic environment, it is easy to be against compromise and walk away from negotiations. It is encouraging to see our labor and corporate leaders stand up, come together and find a solution necessary to preserve thousands of jobs, restore and protect the health and pension benefits that hardworking miners and their families earned and deserve. This settlement will give workers more input and allow them to share a stake in their destiny, while also providing hope and optimism for the future of the coal industry, which is vital to our state and our entire nation."