Columns/Opinion, Letters to the Editor

Congress needs to back miners’ protection bill

Ralph Correll, Morgantown
I would like to ask every coal miner, retired coal miner, coal miner’s widows and their children to write or call their senator and member of the House of Representatives and ask them to support the coal miner’s protection bill.
Some years ago, the coal companies in their contracts with the UMW were allowed to discontinue paying into the union’s pension fund. Since this happened, there is a limited amount of money to continue to pay pensions only for several more years.
We need every House member and senator from every coal mining state and other states to get on board in supporting the coal miner’s protection bill.
The government and the coal companies in 1946 made the union a promise that they would have health benefits and pension benefits from cradle to grave. When the coal companies stopped paying into coal miners’pension fund, they broke their promise to the coal miners and their families. If the government doesn’t pass the coal miner’s protection bill, it will be breaking its promise too.
If this bill isn’t passed, there will be unbelievable hardships; these thousands of coal miners and their families will suffer from the loss of their pensions.
In West Virginia, contact Sens. Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito and Rep. David McKinley and urge them to continue to work hard on getting this bill passed.
Passing the coal miner’s protection bill is not a hand-out. These pensions were earned by all coal miners working or retired and their widows. The men and women who retired from the mines deserve not to live in fear that they and their families will suffer because an important promise was broken.