12,500 coal retirees told health plans will end without bill - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

12,500 coal retirees told health plans will end without bill

Posted:
National Miner's Day National Miner's Day
CHARLESTON, WV (AP) -

About 12,500 union coal miner retirees and their dependents are receiving letters warning them they'll lose their health benefits on Dec. 31 without congressional action.

The Patriot Voluntary Employee Beneficial Association shipped the letters last week. The United Mine Workers of America retirees worked at mines run by now-bankrupt Patriot Coal and its predecessors.

The letters say the money will run out Dec. 31 unless Congress passes a bill expected to come up after the Nov. 8 election.

It would protect health care and pension benefits for about 120,000 former coal miners and their families amid the industry's decline. Supporters call it a life-saving measure honoring a 70-year-old promise from the federal government.

Some Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, are wary of bailing out unionized workers.

___

This story corrects that retirees receiving letters worked for Patriot and its predecessors.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Read more coal industry news on WVVA.com

US: Coal mine expansion to have minor climate impact

Second lab manger sentenced for tampering with coal mine water samples

Duke Energy to remove coal ash from North Carolina plant

In jail, ex-coal CEO says he's 'American political prisoner'

Arch Coal emerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

Powered by Frankly