In the discussion thread: Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder Meeting Picketed By Utah Coal Miners (UMW) [View all]
Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)
Sun May 5, 2013, 04:10 PM
Unhappy in Utah (2 posts)
3. Info on the struggle of the picketing coal miner's
Hey, just to let you know, I am married to a UMWA union coal miner from the Deer Creek Coal and it is very sad what is happening with the contract negotiations--but there is a lot more to this story.
There is a terrific article about the miner’s struggles in this month's miner worker journal, the link to it is here and the article begins on page 6:
You can also peruse the website of this local union at:
The local newspaper in the area also wrote a very informative article regarding the miner’s planned picket of Berkshire Hathaway’s Stockholder’s meeting and published the day after they miner’s left on the trip. You can see that article here:
A post here mentions they are not talking about vacation days, bonus structure, or perks. Well they aren't talking anything!
Energy West Mining, a subsidiary of MidAmerican Energy, officially states they are "committed to a fair solution" what a joke--they have said in every negotiation meeting they will discuss nothing but health care and UNTIL the union is willing to accept the cuts--from 100% to 70/30%--they won't even talk about pay raises, etc. UMWA coal miners have given up many pay raises over the past years to be able to maintain their 100% health care coverage, with the International contract being settled just last year giving the miner's covered under it 100% health coverage still. Deer Creek's union miners are asking for the same contract the rest of the UMWA miners have, really is that too much to ask?
Since the contract expired in Jan. Energy West Mining has allowed the miners to continue working under the expired contract but have taken away all the "time sensitive" aspects of the contract--sick pay, vacation pay, etc., making it impossible for the miners to have a day off, unless they have been there long enough to have earned what is referred to as "graduated vacation time" and they can only use that time with the miner manager's permission--that's the reason most all the miners picketing at Berkshire Hathaway’s Stockholders Meeting were retirees of the mine.
They have also stated there will be absolutely no holiday pay, and even went so far as to idle the mine on April 1 (the 1st holiday of the year for UMWA coal miners) and did not pay anyone the 8 hours holiday pay the contract entitled them to on their paychecks. At Deer Creek they have implemented the "weekend/holiday schedule" which is in the expired contract and would have required a few of the miners to work April 1 and receive 1 2/3 pays for the day, but idling the mine made sure they couldn't get the pay they were entitled to either.
Then there is the other stuff going on too, they have even went so far as to hire armed guards to patrol the mine site, as well as other intimadation factors such as sending out a copy of MidAmerican Energy's "code of ethics" that states they cannot engage in any conduct which might embarrass the company in any way or they will be terminated from their jobs thereby ensuring their silence on this whole issue--because in this area there are no other jobs available.
But just to add a little more about this, the IBEW Local 57 Union (whose workers work for PacifiCorp also a subsidiary of MidAmerican Energy and runs the power plants which the Deer Creek coal supplies) is also in contact negotiations with this company--their contract expired the end of Jan. BUT they have already been given 2 written proposal to vote on--also taking away their health care coverage and trying to cut them down to 70/30 and the IBEW union workers have voted it down both times. (But they received all their sick and vacation days for this year, and also President’s day was their first paid holiday under their expired contract and they received the day off and pay!) UMWA officials from Deer Creek can't even get a written proposal worked up to put in front of the miners for a vote--and they say they are bargaining in good faith? Come on, get real!
But to add insult to injury at least for me, is the fact as I was searching on the internet Saturday to see if our miner’s got any media coverage with this picket I ran across some articles one stating Berkshire Hathaway is now the 5th most valuable company in the world, another stating Buffett offered David Sokol, former CEO of MidAmerican Energy, an additional 12.5 million dollar compensation just years before it was found out he was allegedly making improper stock trades. But even with all of this money they apparently have they maintain the union miners have to accept the health care cuts so they can remain “competitive”!!!
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Replies to this discussion thread
|Omaha Steve||May 2013||OP|
|Omaha Steve||May 2013||#1|
Info on the struggle of the picketing coal miner's
|Unhappy in Utah||May 2013||#3|
|Omaha Steve||May 2013||#5|
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