70 PERCENT OF UNION MINERS OK NEW DEAL

BROOKWOOD – With 70 percent of voting mine workers giving the OK, Walter Energy coal miners will go to work for buyer Coal Acquisition with a pay cut.

In addition to currently employed workers, some laid-off miners will be going back to work. They are, however, taking an hourly paycut of $6 to $7.

The agreement between the United Mine Workers of America and Coal Acquisition also reduces workers’ health care benefits coverage from 100 percent to 80 percent.

Under the agreement, $25 million will go toward retirees’ health care. Many miners said they voted yes to honor those who paved the way for them.

“It’s really and truly an unselfish act,” said UWMA 2245 President Johnny Jordan. “They knew that they were going to be taking recessions, and that they were going to be taking cuts in pay and things were going to be different, and you know when people step up and do the right thing, I think that speaks volumes about who we represent.”

UWMA District 20 Vice President Darryl Dewberry said the union is in discussions with Coal Acquisition to get 100 laid-off miners back to work at the No. 7 mine before the transition period ends.

Dewberry said he also hopes to get 160 to 170 more miners back at the No. 4 mine around the transition date, which will be some time between mid-March and April 1.

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