Arch Coal created Magnum Coal in 2005, transferring its health-care and retirement obligations to that new company. Patriot then bought Magnum in 2008.
"Our bargaining team worked day and night to recover all we could from Patriot, but this fight is not over," UMW Secretary-Treasurer Dan Kane said Tuesday.
"Retired miners and their families are being shortchanged, even though Arch and Peabody are still profitable companies. It's just plain wrong to use a corporate shell game to deny workers the benefits they rightfully earned during a lifetime of labor in the coal mines. We're going to stay on this case until justice is done."
On Friday, UMW members working for Patriot will vote on the tentative contract agreement. About 1,800 active or laid-off members in West Virginia and Kentucky will be eligible to vote.
Neither the UMW nor Patriot has released any details of the settlement.
The union is also working for its retired miners in courts and before Congress.
The UMW filed a lawsuit in West Virginia alleging Peabody and Arch violated the federal Employment Retirement Income Security Act by schemes to avoid paying the lifetime health-care benefits the companies had guaranteed under union contracts.
The UMW also backs the Coal Mine Health Care and Pension Protection Act of 2013, co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of more than 20 members of the House of Representatives from states around the country. The bill's sponsors include Rep. Nick J. Rahall, D-W.Va., and Reps. Shelley Moore Capito and David B. McKinley, both R-W.Va.
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.