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1 Nov 2019

Matt Egan, CNN Business

'Nervous and scared.' Coal workers fear for pensions after Murray Energy bankruptcy

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Tom Kacsmar worked underground at a coal mine for nearly four decades. The promise of a decent pension and healthcare for life kept him at this dangerous job... Kacsmar fears those benefits will get washed away by the bankruptcy of Murray Energy, America's largest private coal mining company... Like many of its bankrupt rivals, Murray Energy is widely expected to make the case that those benefits need to get dialed back for the company to survive. That would have far-reaching consequences because Murray Energy is the last major company contributing to the United Mine Workers of America's pension plan... Current and former Murray Energy employees told CNN Business they are bracing for cuts.

... "Although Murray has been able to outlast many of its competitors, mounting debt and legacy liability expenses have become too heavy of a burden to sustain under current industry conditions," Robert Moore, the company's incoming CEO, argued in court documents. "The company has exhausted all options and liquidity."
Murray Energy declined to comment on what will happen to worker pensions... [but] the company emphasized [in court documents] that it doesn't take this process lightly. "Murray's employees are its lifeblood and Murray has a longstanding history and valued partnership with their unions," the company said.