Save Mine Workers Pensions & Health Care: Letter to President Trump
As a proud native of coal country I thank you for speaking out in support of our mine workers and their families. However, I write to you today because I am very concerned for our retired mine workers. Their pensions are at risk, their health care is in jeopardy, and the financial security of their families is in doubt.
Almost 23,000 retired coal miners and their dependents received official notification that they could lose their health care benefits by April 30. This is beyond disappointing news as this threatens the lives and communities of our retired mine workers.
Our country made a promise to mine workers: if you work hard, play by the rules, and sacrifice in order to put food on your table and electricity in our homes and businesses, then you will be rewarded with guaranteed health care and retirement benefits. Our nation desperately needs to keep that promise.
Thankfully, some of our leaders in Washington are taking action. U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) recently introduced the bipartisan Miners Protection Act, garnering the support of Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). If passed, it would allow retirees to receive health coverage from the UMWA Health and Retirement Funds and would provide funding to shore up the Pension Plan. We need Congress to pass this bipartisan bill and we need you, Mr. President, to sign it. I am urging you to keep your promise to mine workers and turn this bill into law.
Mine workers helped build this country and we must stand up for them, their families, and coal mining communities. The mental, physical, and emotional pain jeopardizing mine workers’ pensions and health care coverage causes them and their loved ones is unmeasurable and unacceptable. Folks should not have to decide between paying for prescriptions or buying groceries; retired mine workers should not have to choose between paying their mortgage or receiving care to fight black lung disease.
The Miners Pension Fund covers nearly 90,000 people. The fund provides an average of $530 each month per retiree, a sum that can make an enormous difference in quality of life for retired miners and miners’ widows. We have to protect these benefits and that is why I am urging you to take action. Miners from Ohio, West Virginia, and all across the country worked hard in dangerous situations to power our country and they deserve better than this.
Mine workers made America the most powerful country on Earth and now politicians are too weak to deliver on their promise. I pray that you, alongside our other leaders in Washington, take action to save the retired coal miners’ pensions and health care. Thank you for your consideration.
C. Taylor Myers