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Coal Miners Back in Washington Fighting for Benefits

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United Mine Workers and supporters were on Capitol Hill Wednesday in an effort to shore up their pension and health benefits. More than 43,000 coal miners in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia are growing anxious about losing their retirement benefits. The coal miner’s union says its pension fund will be insolvent in three years if Congress doesn’t… Read More

Living Wage: Ohio Valley Workers, Employers React As House Votes For $15 Minimum Wage

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The U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, more than double the current $7.25 rate, which has not changed in a decade. The bill is unlikely to clear the Republican-controlled Senate, where Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has said he will not take it… Read More

Minimum Wage Hike Would Have Major Effect In Ohio Valley

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A new report from the Congressional Budget Office shows increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour would boost the wages of 17 million workers and lift about 1.3 million people out of poverty. But the CBO warns that could also result in more than one million lost jobs and could diminish overall income for others…. Read More

New Data Show Appalachia’s Struggle Amid Coal’s Decline

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An annual report from the Appalachian Regional Commission shows that while Appalachia is seeing some economic improvement, the heart of the region and its coal-producing communities are still struggling. Several counties in the Ohio Valley are moving in a negative direction in this year’s report. The ARC report evaluates the Appalachian region using county-level data… Read More

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin with miners on Capitol Hill.

Retired Miners Make One More Push For Pension Protection On Capitol Hill

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Retired coal miners joined lawmakers from the Ohio Valley on Capitol Hill Wednesday for another attempt to protect miners’ pensions. Pensions are at risk because of a downturn in the coal market, the lingering effects of the 2008 recession, and coal company bankruptcies which have all reduced the amounts companies paid into a shared, or multiemployer, pension… Read More

Automation For The People? Ohio Valley At High Risk For Job Losses

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Amazon employee Andre Woodson made his way among yellow bins traveling through a vast warehouse filled with boxes and envelopes to be packed, sorted and shipped. In Amazon-speak, this is a “fulfillment center.” “Our Jeffersonville, Indiana, fulfillment center is about 1.2 million square feet, which is equivalent to about 28 football fields,” Woodson explained. About… Read More

Federal Prosecutor Adds Charges In Kentucky Coal Dust Fraud Case

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A federal prosecutor announced new charges against a senior coal company official for conspiring to falsify the required monitoring of coal dust. The case comes amid a surge in cases of black lung disease and widespread allegations from miners that cheating on dust monitors is common in the mining industry. Western Kentucky District U.S. Attorney… Read More

Ohio Valley Senators Again Aim to Shore Up Shaky Pension Plan For Coal Miners

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Following a failed attempt to address a looming crisis in many multi-employer pension programs, two Ohio Valley lawmakers have introduced a bill in Congress to shore up the shaky pension plan for coal miners. The bill also aims to protect health benefits and restore funding for the federal trust fund providing benefits for thousands of… Read More

Pensions At The Polls: Will Concern Over Shaky Plans Show Up On Election Day?

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Thousands of union coal miners and their families gathered this summer in Columbus, Ohio, wielding signs and wearing camouflage United Mine Workers of America shirts. UMWA President Cecil Roberts led the crowd in a call-and-response chant. “I want you to send a loud, clear signal that we are one! We are one!” But the miners… Read More

Miners Urge Congressional Action On Pensions, Black Lung Fund

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Retired coal miners and coal community activists are on Capitol Hill this week urging action on two important issues for miners: pensions and black lung benefits. Advocates say funds supporting both pensions for retired miners and the federal benefits for those sickened by black lung disease are at risk if Congress does not act. Pension… Read More