Gentile in support of coalfield resolution

COLUMBUS – State Sen. Lou Gentile, D-Steubenville, introduced a resolution urging Congress to pass the Coalfield Accountability and Retired Employee Act.

Senate Bill 468 was introduced last month in Congress.

“Coal mining is an important part of the history and culture in Southeast Ohio. We have an obligation to protect the benefits that were promised to more than 100,000 retired mineworkers,” said Gentile.

“These men and women risked their lives every day on the job to earn an honest living, to provide for their families and to keep America strong. These retirees should not have to spend their golden years living in fear of losing all that they worked for. The government must take the steps necessary to ensure miners and their families are protected,” Gentile said.

According to Gentile, the United Mine Workers of America’s 1974 pension plan is severely underfunded and on the road to failure.

“If the plan were to become insolvent, reductions in union members’ pension checks would be imminent. The legislation would amend the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act to transfer funds in excess of the amounts needed to meet existing obligations of the pension plan and prevent its insolvency,” stated Gentile.