The MTD-affiliated United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) announced it has reached an agreement with Peabody Energy in which the company will provide up to $75 million during the next 10 months to help cover the expenses for health care benefits for retirees affected by the Patriot Coal bankruptcy of 2012-13.
The payments of $7.5 million a month will continue until October in the Patriot Retirees Voluntary Employees Beneficial Association (VEBA) unless Congress passes legislation placing those retirees under the umbrella of the UMWA Health and Retirement Funds.
The union noted approximately 12,000 retirees, dependents and widows are covered by the Patriot VEBA.
“These retirees did everything asked of them, and now through no fault of their own find their health care benefits under threat,” noted UMWA International President Cecil Roberts. “This agreement will help, but is by no means a permanent fix to this problem.”
The Mine Workers held a series of demonstrations during the Patriot Coal bankruptcy period. (Patriot was a spinoff of Peabody.) MTD Executive Secretary-Treasurer Daniel Duncan took part in a civil disobedience demonstration in St. Louis outside the Peabody headquarters during that campaign.