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Cecil Roberts, president of the MTD-affiliated United Mine Workers, said his union will continue to push for a new contract with Walter Energy despite the ruling by a federal bankruptcy judge on December 28 allowing the company to walk away from its pension and health care obligations.

“The decision announced by Judge Tamara O. Mitchell of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Birmingham [Alabama] rejecting our collective bargaining agreement with Walter Energy and wiping out Walter’s obligation to pay retiree health care and pension benefits is extremely disappointing but not surprising,” declared Roberts.

“The law is stacked against workers in American bankruptcy courts,” he added. “A lifetime of hard work and dedication means nothing to the courts. Apparently all that matters is that executives get bonuses and Wall Street raiders get paid.”

Roberts termed the judge’s permission to pay Walter management $2 million in bonuses “galling.”

The MTD Executive Board Member stated the Mine Workers will continue to negotiate with Birmingham-based Walter Energy in hopes of reaching an agreement that will include retiree health care benefits.