Miners and retirees learn about legislation to save pensions

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- More than 300 active members and retirees of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) attended a conference Wednesday to learn more about their benefits.

The union is urging Congress to pass legislation that will save pensions for more than 106,000 active miners and their widows.

Miners from West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, and Virginia were invited to the informational conference at a hotel in Charleston. Organizers filled them in on the status of the legislation.

Congress is considering adding funding for pensions to an existing bill that deals with retirees' health care.

The miners are being urged to keep in contact with their legislators until it's added.

UMWA International President Cecil Roberts says he believes there are enough votes in the House, but he is unsure of what type of influence the Senate will face.

"We're facing, right as we gather here today, somewhere around 2023 or the latter part of 2022, the plan becoming insolvent," said Roberts. "If it becomes insolvent, PBGC -- Public Benefit Guarantee Corporation -- will collapse too, which protects everybody's pensions in America."