Tags: sen. joe manchin | coal | murray | pensions

Sen. Manchin Outlines 'SLAP Act' to Save Pensions

By    |   Tuesday, 29 October 2019 01:55 PM

Sen. Joe Manchin, from the coal-centered state of West Virginia, Tuesday outlined a bill he is presenting in hopes of keeping companies from "looting" the pensions of U.S. union workers in order to fund their own operations. 

"If you look at what's happening, out pensions are unraveling," the West Virginia Democrat told MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "I've been working and begging (Senate Majority Leader) Mitch McConnell to put the American Miners Act on the docket so we can vote on it and pass it."

Manchin said his bill, the "SLAP Act" which stands for "Stop Looting American Pensions," calls to put workers first, rather than allowing companies to "raid" shared pension and retirement benefit plans where the workers have been contributing. 

"That's all they work for. 20, 30 years, hard work," said Manchin.

Manchin pointed out that the nation's largest private coal company, Murray Coal, Monday night declared bankruptcy. 

CNN reported Tuesday that Murray has formed a restructuring agreement with some lenders, marking about 60% of its $1.7 billion in liabilities. It has received $350 million to keep the business operational through the Chapter 11 proceedings. CEO Robert Murray has been replaced, with former Chief Financial Officer Robert  Moore to take over as the new CEO, and Murray to stay as the company's board chairman. 

The company employs 7,000 miners in six states, including Manchin's.

Underfunded coal industry pension programs had been predicted to default by 2022, but now, they're expected to run out in 2020. 

"The average pension for a retired miner is around $600, and most of these are widows who are receiving this and depend upon it," Manchin said. "It's going to be economic chaos. I'm saying fix it and fix it now."

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Sen. Joe Manchin, from the coal-centered state of West Virginia, Tuesday outlined a bill he is presenting in hopes of keeping companies from "looting" the pensions of U.S. union workers in order to fund their own operations. 
sen. joe manchin, coal, murray, pensions
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2019-55-29
Tuesday, 29 October 2019 01:55 PM
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