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PENNSYLVANIA AFL-CIO PRESIDENT WILLIAM M. GEORGE APPLAUDS UNITED MINE WORKERS' RETIREE HEALTH CARE VICTORY

 PENNSYLVANIA AFL-CIO PRESIDENT WILLIAM M. GEORGE
 APPLAUDS UNITED MINE WORKERS' RETIREE HEALTH CARE VICTORY
 HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Federal approval today of a United Mine Workers of America (UMWA)-backed plan to guarantee continued medical care for 200,000 retired coal miners is being hailed as a "breakthrough for working families everywhere" by Pennsylvania's top labor leader.
 William George, president of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, said the success of a three-year UMWA campaign to protect retired coal miners' health care "will be the textbook example unions will follow for years to come on how to win government action on health care."
 The UMWA-backed plan, which was incorporated by Congress into the national energy bill, recently became law and requires that corporations which refused to pay into an employer-funded health benefits program resume contributions.
 The union plan, championed by U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), also allows funds from the Abandoned Mine Lands Reclamation program to be earmarked for retired coal miners' health care. The UMWA had predicted that without federal action, the health benefits fund would collapse, triggering what UMWA President Richard Trumka called "chaos in the coal fields."
 "Though the specifics of the UMWA plan may not apply to every industry, the lessons about how to get action out of Congress and an anti-labor president do," George said, adding, "The UMWA's breakthrough on health care is labor's first victory on Capitol Hill in a long time."
 The Pennsylvania labor leader pointed out that the Bush administration initially opposed the UMWA campaign and had vetoed a similar plan earlier this year.
 "It's a tribute to the strength and the skill of the UMWA and its leadership that they were able to win," George said.
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 -0- 10/23/92
 /CONTACT: David Wilderman or James Deegan of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, 717-238-9351/ CO: Pennsylvania AFL-CIO; United Mine Workers of America ST: Pennsylvania, District of Columbia IN: SU:


CC -- PH057 -- 4415 10/23/92 18:20 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 23, 1992
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