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Judge: Coal production company can break contract with union

President of Alpha Natural Resources resigning for new role (Image 1)
President of Alpha Natural Resources resigning for new role (Image 1) (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A federal judge has ruled that a coal production company can break its contract with a union in order to reorganize its finances.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports (http://bit.ly/1Tb1se3) a judge granted the motion from Alpha Natural Resources on the United Mine Workers contract Monday.

The company filed a petition in March with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Richmond, asking to be able to modify the company's obligations for retiree health care benefits.

Alpha said it needed to cut costs in order to survive the ongoing decline in the coal industry.

Company lawyers said that the company spent about $53 million on health care benefits for union employees last year.

UMW President Cecil Roberts says the union is still trying to work out a deal with Alpha to resolve the issue.

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