Westmoreland Coal Company will be selling their Dakota Westmoreland Beulah Mine after battling in bankruptcy court. United Mine Workers of America is unsure of who the buyer is at this point.
Westmoreland Coal Company notified Beulah Mineworkers in December that they may lose their health and retirement benefits, including their pensions if the company goes belly up.
Court concluded Tuesday, and Judge David R. Jones of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Houston gave Westmoreland and United Mine Workers of America until February 28th to reach a new agreement.
KX News spoke with UMWA’s Communications and Government Affairs Director, who says we won’t know what will happen to the workers’ and retired workers’ benefits until that settlement is reached.
The first time Westmoreland Coal Company had to work out a new collective bargaining agreement with UMWA was sometime in 2018. This was in the hopes of avoiding bankruptcy.
Smith believes the Coal Company Executives made some poor decisions and gave themselves somewhere near 10-million dollars in bonuses split between top tier employees last year. He says that’s how they ended up where they are today.
He adds, “That’s one of the things that is so very unfair about how bankruptcy laws are written in the United States. And of course, the workers come last in line for anything that’s leftover in the company, and by the time it gets to the workers, there’s never anything left over. Bankruptcy laws are written so workers end up getting nothing.”
For more information and letters from mineworkers, click here.