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New Bankruptcy Reform Legislation launched

Legislation aimed at keeping coal companies that file bankruptcy from shirking their collective bargaining obligations was introduced Friday in the U.S. House.

The legislation, which was introduced by Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., clarifies that coal miners must be treated fairly when their employer utilizes the bankruptcy process.

The legislation was prompted last August when lawyers for Horizon Natural Resources argued successfully during two bankruptcy hearings that - as part of its bankruptcy reorganization plan - Horizon should not be held responsible for health care benefits for the union miners and retirees who had previously worked for Zeigler Coal and Old Ben Coal.

UMWA International President Cecil Roberts hailed the legislation that targets bankruptcy reform only for the coal industry.



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