Charleston, W.Va. – On Friday and Saturday, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) joined more than 500 retired coal miners and family members at four events across West Virginia to commemorate Congress passing legislation that included a permanent fix for their healthcare benefits. At his “Keep the Promise to Our Miners” town hall meetings in Fairmont, Matewan, Oceana and Logan, Senator Manchin thanked miners and families for sharing their personal stories with lawmakers – direct contact that, he said, made all the difference in getting the bill passed.

“This would not have happened if they didn’t see you in the hallways, day in and day out,” Senator Manchin said. “You brought the real faces and the real stories that showed what would happen if these benefits expired. You made sure they knew and wouldn’t forget. And because of you, we got a permanent fix for thousands of retired miners and their families, instead of another temporary solution that would have kept them in limbo.”

On Friday, Senator Manchin joined a crowd at Knights of Columbus Hall in Fairmont, followed by stops on Saturday at UMWA Local 1440 in Matewan, UMWA Local 7604 in Oceana and UMWA Local 5958 in Logan. At each town hall, retired miners and their family members impacted by this legislation talked about the life-changing assurance that comes with having guaranteed health benefits, and Senator Manchin shared with them his commitment to securing their pension benefits as well.

“You paid for your pensions. You worked for them. We must fulfill the whole promise,” Senator Manchin said. “When we get back to work in Washington, I am picking back up on the fight for your pensions.”

The healthcare provision, passed last week as part of the federal government’s fiscal year 2017 spending bill, requires that the federal government and coal operators honor their obligation of healthcare benefits to retired miners and their families who were facing uncertainty as a result of the financial crisis and corporate bankruptcies. For years, Senator Manchin has fought to pass his legislation, the Miners Protection Act, to secure a long-term solution for both retired miners’ healthcare and pensions.

As a result of the bill passed last week, 22,600 of the nation’s coal miners and family members are guaranteed lifetime health benefits. This includes approximately 8,500 retired miners and their families in West Virginia.  

May 5

Fairmont Keep the Promise to Our Miners Town Hall


WVU Medicine / WVU Job Fair and WVU Veterans Recognition

NIOSH visit

Bombardier visit

May 6

Matewan Keep the Promise to Our Miners Town Hall


Oceana Keep the Promise to Our Miners Town Hall

Logan Keep the Promise to Our Miners Town Hall

Passport Fair

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