Senator Lou Gentile Urges Passage of Miners Protection Act

Act would protect pensions of thousands of retirees

COLUMBUS, OH – Today, Senator Lou Gentile (D-Steubenville) announced he will introduce a resolution in the Ohio Senate urging Congress to pass the bipartisan Miners Protection Act of 2015.Lou UMWA

Gentile’s announcement follows the testimony of United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts before the U.S. Senate’s Finance Committee on the Miners Protection Act. The Act amends the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 to transfer certain funds to the Multiemployer Health Benefit Plan and the 1974 United Mine Workers of America Pension Plan. This would allow the funds to be used to preserve pensions and healthcare for retired miners.

“These retired coal miners have contributed a great deal to our state and nation by powering our homes, schools, and businesses,” Senator Gentile said. “They worked hard, played by the rules and have earned their pensions and health benefits. Congress has an obligation to fulfill the promises that were made to them.”

Because there are significantly fewer miners currently working than are retired, the pension system is facing insolvency without Congressional action. If the plan becomes unable to meet its current obligations, beneficiaries will face cuts and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation will assume those liabilities, hurting retired workers in other industries in addition to the miners.

“I am proud to sponsor this resolution urging Congress to approve the Miners Protection Act. This resolution would send a strong message to leaders in the US Congress that Ohioans stand united behind retired coal miners,” Gentile concluded.