Rahall Stands Up to Protect Benefits and Health Care for West Virginia Coal Miners
Mar 6, 2013
Washington, DC – As part of his longtime effort to strengthen and improve the quality of life for coal miners in retirement, U.S. Rep. Nick J. Rahall (D-W.Va.) today introduced the Coalfield Accountability and Retired Employee Act (CARE Act), legislation that strengthens the legal protections and funding for the health care and pension benefits promised to retired coal workers and their families.
“Every effort must be made to preserve health care benefits for our retired coal miners who worked so hard to produce the coal that powered this Nation,” said Rahall. “This legislation that Senator Rockefeller and I are introducing today keeps faith with the federal commitment that has been made to our coal miners. It ensures that those who participated in the noble but dangerous job of working underground to provide our energy security are secure in the retirement.”
Thousands of retired coal miners across the country, including nearly 40,000 in West Virginia, are now facing the loss of or a significant reduction in the health care and retirement benefits they earned. At present, there are only about 10,000 active mineworkers supporting pension payments for nearly 95,000 retirees. This severe underfunding of the UMWA’s 1974 pension plan coupled with the stress the fund is experiencing as a result of the recent finical crisis has placed it on a path to insolvency. ...