Pay, benefits key in UMWA-BCOA deal

LARGE industry union United Mine Workers of America has released details of a tentative agreement with miners’ representative Bituminous Coal Operators Association, announced earlier this week.
Pay, benefits key in UMWA-BCOA deal Pay, benefits key in UMWA-BCOA deal Pay, benefits key in UMWA-BCOA deal Pay, benefits key in UMWA-BCOA deal Pay, benefits key in UMWA-BCOA deal

Image courtesy of the United Mine Workers of America.

Donna Schmidt

UMWA international president Cecil Roberts said on Wednesday the new deal, which if ratified on Friday would extend from July 1, 2011 to December 31, 2016, included a wage increase of $US6 per hour over the life of the agreement.

Two $1 per hour increases will go into effect in the first six months of the agreement, one on July 1 and the other on January 1, 2012. Those increases are 8.2% higher than current wages.

Pay will then rise by $1 per hour on January 1 of each of the deal’s successive years.

“This is the largest wage increase in dollar terms over the life of a single agreement UMWA members have ever received in our 121 year history,” Roberts said.

“By the last year of the agreement the average UMWA miner covered under this agreement would be earning about $30 per hour in straight time wages.”

The agreement also calls for the preservation of health care benefits for both active and retired miners; no cuts are planned. Also, members will see no increases to deductibles, co-payments or other out-of-pocket expenses.

Pension benefits also are preserved in the proposed deal, with no cuts for current or future eligible retirees. Other improvements include increases in shift differential pay, sickness and accident benefits, vision and dental benefits, life insurance benefits and more.

“The UMWA international executive board voted unanimously to recommend to the membership that this contract be ratified,” Roberts said.

“This proposed agreement meets all the goals set forth as bargaining priorities by the delegates to our most recent convention.

“It preserves our health care benefits with no cuts to active and retired members and their families, it preserves our pensions with no cuts to active and retired members or widows, and it provides substantial pay increases so our members can continue to provide for themselves and their families.”

Meetings are now being held at local UMWA branches across the US prior to a nationwide vote, which has been scheduled for June 17.

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