On May 29, Surratt-States ruled that Patriot could throw out its current contracts with the UMWA, reducing wages and cutting health-care benefits dramatically.
Patriot implemented those changes on July 1, an action the union immediately challenged.
After six weeks of negotiations, Patriot and UMWA leaders reached a labor agreement that allows Patriot to maintain some wage cuts.
But the agreement preserved many pension and health-care benefits for thousands of retired miners and their dependents. Active miners will continue to accumulate pension benefits under the new contract.
Patriot said the new agreement would save the company $130 million annually for the next four years, for a total of $520 million.
On Friday, Roberts said, "We are now able to turn our full attention to securing the lifetime health-care benefits Peabody and Arch promised these retirees."
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.