The shameful abandonment of retirees
In 2013, Consol Energy finalized its sale of Consolidation Coal Co. to Murray Energy. This sale included the Loverage, Robinson Run, Blacksville, Shoemaker and McElroy mines, and other coal assets in Pennsylvania.
Robert Murray, the CEO of Murray Energy, stated last October, “No company has developed a better legacy with its employees, with its customers, with its financial markets, with the regulatory agencies, or with the public in general, over many decades than Consol and Consolidation Coal Co. Murray intends to preserve this well-earned legacy,” he added.
What happened? On April 8, I received a certified letter from Murray Energy stating the following: “Please be advised that Murray Energy does not provide salary retiree benefit coverage for its retirees. Consol and Murray Energy reserved the right to amend or terminate your retiree benefits and coverage in applicable plan documents and summary plan descriptions. This communication is to inform you that your retiree benefits, including any eligibility for such coverage, will end on Dec. 31, 2014.”
I am a retired miner, having worked for 35 years in five Consol mines in Southwestern Pennsylvania, and I am now one of 1,200-plus Consol retirees affected by this agreement. To lose health coverage at this stage of my life is devastating. Murray’s intentions of preserving Consol’s legacy have apparently been disregarded. More importantly, Consol’s acceptance of this agreement should be viewed as totally irresponsible.
Consol is complicit to the terms of this agreement, and it is shameful.