Manchin holds ‘Promises Kept Rally’ in Fairmont Friday

FAIRMONT, W.Va. – Lawmakers in Washington D.C. recently passed the the Bipartisan American Miners Act of 2019 that secured lifetime healthcare benefits for 13,000 retired coal miners and their families and nearly 92,000 others who were in danger of having their pensions stopped.

“After four long years of working hard through many uncertainties, Congress came together, Democrats and Republicans, to secure healthcare and pensions for our nation’s coal miners. We did our job. It was the coal miners of America that made us look beyond politics,”U.S. Senator Joe Manchin said. “And I want to give my sincere thanks to all of my colleagues for putting partisan politics aside and for rising above the divineness and tribalism in order to keep the promise we made in 1946. Over seventy years ago, President Harry Truman recognized the importance of the workers that produced the coal for this country and promised that the government would guarantee our brave coal miners’ benefits in return for their service.”

At ground level, the announcement was the result of years of hard work by miners, the union and West Virginia lawmakers.

Retired miner Jack Frazier has taken trips to Washington D.C. to make the case to elected officials.

“I was there seven years ago, eight years ago now, and they didn’t know who we were,” Frazier said,”But, they knew who we were when we left.”

Frazier said Cecil Roberts, Joe Manchin, Shelley Moore-Capito and the congressional delegation fought hard for them every step of the way.

“It’s really sad to me that we had to put all this effort, manpower and money into it,”Frazier said,”It’s something that we worked for, it’s not something we were being given and the companies ran off with our pensions basically.”

Frazier said passage of the measure is just in time the employees of Murray Energy and other companies that decalred bankruptcy.

“These guys(Murray Energy), probably by the end of March or April when their bankruptcy is done they would have been out of their pension and healthcare both, so it’s really good for them” Frazier said,”Plus the Mission and Westmoreland people their healthcare was ending at the end of this month, so it’s a god send for them.

The Promises Kept Tour continues tomorrow at 11 a.m. in Matewan at the UMWA Local 1440, BB&T Building at 401 Mate Street.