The United Mine Workers of America was disappointed that the U.S. Congress failed to achieve a "full and final fix" to retirees' healthcare and pensions.
The union said it will hit the ground running in next year, after winning a short-term extension of coal miner healthcare benefits that were set to expire in January 2017. A coalition of Senate Democrats had threatened to block any bills from passing by unanimous consent until union miners' healthcare pension funders were saved by a year-end budget resolution.
"Congress needs to understand that these are real people whose lives are at risk, with real healthcare issues and real dependence on their small pensions to survive," said UMWA President Cecil Roberts. "To callously cast them aside as some have advocated in and out of Congress is inhumane and morally reprehensible."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, has said he is supportive of extending union miners' healthcare funding and that "it's highly unlikely that we'll take it away."