UMW members ratify new deal with coal companies

By the Associated Press | June 17, 2011 | 9:59 PM EDT

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The United Mine Workers labor union says its members have ratified a new 5½-year deal with coal companies in a nationwide vote.

The union said in a Friday news release from Triangle, Va., that 70 percent voted in favor of the collective bargaining agreement with the Bituminous Coal Operators Association.

UMW International President Cecil E. Roberts said in the statement that the members will receive the largest pay increase in the union's 121-year-history. The union had said earlier that members would get a $6 an hour raise over the duration of the contract. They would average about $30 an hour by 2016.

The Bituminous Coal Operators represent mainly the unionized subsidiaries of Canonsburg, Pa.-based Consol Energy. But the pension language of the deal affects more companies and thousands of miners.