Deal approved for miners at five coal preparation plants

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The United Mine Workers of America and Virginia-based Alpha Natural Resources have settled on new 5½-year contracts for five former Massey Energy coal preparation plants.

Union President Cecil Roberts says 145 employees in West Virginia and Kentucky have been working under the terms of a contract that expired in 1998.

He says they'll get a substantial raise for the first time in 14 years when the deal goes into effect Jan. 1, plus annual wage increases for the life of the agreement and a $1,000 bonus.

Workers also get shift differentials, sickness and accident benefits, and better health care benefits.

Roberts says Massey refused to deal with the union.

Spokesman Ted Pile says Alpha wanted to do right by the workers. He calls the deal fair and equitable for all.

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