United Mine Workers of America, Health and Retirement Funds records, 1940-1993

1827

Collection Overview

Title:
United Mine Workers of America, Health and Retirement Funds records
Dates (Inclusive):
1940-1993
Abstract:
The United Mine Workers of America (UMW) formed in 1890. In 1946 the union established a pioneering benefits and pension program called the Welfare and Retirement Fund, reorganized in 1974 as the Health and Retirement Funds.
Abstract:
This collection documents medical and pension funds created for members of the United Mine Workers of America. Materials include correspondence, financial records, and subject files.
Collection Number:
1827
Size:
37 Cubic feet
Location:
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the  library catalog.
Repository:
Special Collections Library. Pennsylvania State University.
Languages:
English

Biographical or Historical Note

The United Mine Workers of America (UMW) formed in 1890. In 1946, under President John L. Lewis, the union created the Welfare and Retirement Fund (from 1974, the Health and Retirements Funds), a benefits and pension program. This was a pioneering concept in the United States, particularly insofar as it would provide health care for union members and their dependents.

Lewis first proposed a pension fund and a retirement fund in 1945. The National Bituminous Coal Wage Agreement of 29 May 1946, established a health, welfare, and retirement fund supported by a five-cents-per-ton levy on all coal produced for sale or use by bituminous coal companies. A parallel agreement of 26 June 1946, established an Anthracite Health and Welfare Fund funded by anthracite coal companies and operating along the same lines within the Pennsylvania anthracite region. These two funds would be used to make payments to mine workers, and their dependents and survivors, to cover wage losses not otherwise compensated under the provisions of federal or state law and resulting from sickness, permanent disability, death, retirement, or to provide other related welfare benefits determined by the trustees of the fund. The coal tariff supporting the two funds rose quickly, doubling to 10 cents per ton in 1947, doubling again to 20 cents in 1948, and rising still further to 30 cents per ton in 1950.

With the anthracite region already having entered a period of decline, subsequent activities focused overwhelmingly on the fund for bituminous workers. A revised Welfare and Retirement Fund agreement of 1947 set in motion a mechanism for the payment of pensions to union members. This process got underway in 1948. In May 1948 Josephine Roche became director of the pension and welfare programs, and Paul K. Reed was appointed supervisor of the Distress Benefits Division. In the fall of 1948 the Welfare and Retirement Fund established a Medical, Health and Hospital Service with the aim of working out a program of medical care for miners and their families. The fund acquired control of the National Bank of Washington in 1949.

A trust established by the National Bituminous Coal Wage Agreement of 1950 brought about a reorganization in which the 1947 Welfare and Retirement Fund was merged into a new 1950 Welfare and Retirement Fund. Its purview included pensions, hospital and medical care, funeral expenses, widows and survivors benefits, and mine disaster benefits. The three trustees of the fund comprised a representative of the employers, a representative of the union, and Roche, who would continue as director for more than two decades.

During the 1950s the fund established 10 hospitals in areas where no adequate facilities and services existed. In the 1960s, the combination of a longstanding decline in the mining industry with the increasing mechanization of that industry led to a reduction in employment and a consequent cutback in income accrued for benefits, while demands for those benefits increased dramatically. In response, the Fund was reorganized, and the UMW divested its ownership of the ten hospitals.

In 1971 Roche and UMW president and fund trustee William Boyle were found to have taken part in a conspiracy with the National Bank of Washington and the UMW and others against the beneficiaries of the fund. They were removed from their positions. Thomas F. Ryan was designated acting director in July 1971. In 1972, the new elected UMW president Arnold Miller served as a trustee. In August 1973 Harry Huge took his place.

A new National Bituminous Coal Wage Agreement, effective 6 December 1974, resulted in the creation of four separate trust funds which replaced the single Welfare and Retirement Fund: the 1950 Pension Trust, for workers retiring before 1976; the 1974 Pension Trust, for workers retiring after 1975; the 1950 Benefit Trust, providing medical care and death benefits for retired miners and their dependents; and the 1974 Benefit Trust, providing medical care and death benefits for workers retiring after 1975 and their dependents. These four funds operated collectively under the title Health and Retirement Funds, with Huge serving as chairman. The comparatively much smaller Anthracite Health and Welfare Fund continued to operate as a separate fund through and beyond the reorganization of the bituminous funds.

In response to further financial difficulties within the funds, the 1978 National Bituminous Wage Agreement dismantled the medical program and transferred responsibility for health care for working miners and for pensioners who retired after 1975 from the union to individual coal companies. In 1979 Harrison Combs became the head of the Health and Retirement Funds.

During the UMW presidency of Richard Trumka, 1982-1995, the pension portion of the Health and Retirement Funds was revitalized.

Sources: George S. Goldstein, 'The Rise and Decline of the UMWA Health and Retirement Funds Program, 1946-1995,' in The United Mine Workers of America: a Model of Industrial Solidarity?, ed. John H. M. Laslett (University Park, Pa.: Penn State University Press, 1996), 239-265.

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Collection Overview

This collection consists of correspondence, financial records, and subject files pertaining to operations of the innovative medical and pension funds created by the United Mine Workers of America (UMW) for its members after World War II, and it documents revisions of these funds in response to changing fortunes of the UMW in the latter half of the twentieth century. Within these operational files are not only reports on the funds, but also many handwritten or typescript personal narratives from individuals seeking to participate in one of the fund programs, together with responses from the funds' trustees. In several instances, an appeal or grievance regarding benefits may have been forwarded to the Special Membership Committee, the records of which reside within the International Executive Board subgroup of the UMW archives.

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Collection Arrangement

The collection is arranged in five series: Correspondence (1940-1972); Fund Correspondence (1947-1957); Financial records (1946-1948); Office files (1946-1981); Health and Retirement Funds (1964-1993).

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research. Records less than 20 years old shall be made accessible only with the written permission of the designated representative of the donor.

Copyright Notice

Copyright is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], United Mine Workers of America, Health and Retirement Funds records, HCLA 1827, Special Collections Library, Pennsylvania State University.

Acquisition Information

Gift of United Mine Workers of America, 1994-2012.

Processing Information

Processed by Special Collections staff.

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Collection Inventory

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General note

Series 1: Correspondence consists of correspondence with individuals seeking benefits. It proceeds by district and then alphabetically by surname within each district. These records are exclusively from the bituminous Welfare and Retirement Fund.

BoxFolder

2 7

21 26

2 8

2 9

2 10

2 11

21 27

2 12

2 13

21 28

2 14

2 15

2 16

2 17

2 18

21 29

2 19

2 20

2 21

2 22

2 23

2 24

2 25

3 1

3 2

3 3

3 4

3 5

3 6

3 7

3 8

3 9

3 10

3 11

21 30

3 12

3 13

3 14

3 15

3 16

3 17

21 31

3 18

3 19

3 20

3 21

3 22

4 1

22 1

4 2

4 3

4 4

4 5

4 6

22 2

4 7

4 8

22 3

4 9

4 10

4 11

4 12

22 4

4 13

4 14

4 15

4 16

22 5

4 17

4 18

4 19

4 20

4 21

4 22

22 6

5 1

5 2

5 3

5 4

22 7

5 5

5 6

5 7

5 8

5 9

5 10

5 11

5 12

5 13

22 8

5 14

22 9

5 15

22 10

5 16

22 11

5 17

22 12

5 18

22 13

5 19

22 14

5 20

22 15

22 16

5 21

5 22

5 23

5 24

5 25

6 1

6 2

6 3

22 17

6 4

6 5

6 6

22 18

6 7

6 8

22 19

6 9

6 10

22 20

6 11

6 12

6 13

6 14

1 1

1 2

21 1

1 3

21 2

1 4

21 3

1 5

21 4

1 6

21 5

1 7

21 6

21 7

1 8

21 8

21 9

1 9

21 10

21 11

6 15

6 16

22 21

6 17

22 22

22 23

6 18

22 24

6 19

6 20

22 25

6 21

6 22

22 26

6 23

6 24

7 1

22 27

7 2

7 3

7 4

7 5

7 6

7 7

22 28

7 8

7 9

7 10

22 29

22 30

7 11

23 1

23 2

7 12

23 3

23 4

7 13

7 14

7 15

7 16

23 5

23 8

23 06-07

7 17

7 18

23 9

7 19

23 10

23 11

7 20

23 12

7 21

23 13

7 22

23 14

8 1

23 15

1 10

21 12

1 11

8 2

8 3

8 4

23 16

8 5

8 6

23 17

23 18

23 19

8 7

8 8

23 20

8 9

23 21

23 22

8 10

8 11

8 12

8 13

23 23

8 14

23 24

8 15

23 25

8 16

8 17

23 26

23 27

8 18

1 12

1 13

21 13

21 14-15

21 16

1 14

1 15

21 17

1 16

1 17

1 18

21 18

1 19

21 19

1 20

21 20

1 21

23 28

8 19

1 22

1 23

1 24

21 21

1 25

1 26

21 22

21 23

2 1

2 2

21 24

2 3

2 4

2 5

2 6

21 25

8 20

23 29

23 30

23 31

23 32

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General note

Series 2: Fund Correspondence also concerns individuals seeking benefits, but within each district it is arranged by category of benefit: old age pensions, rehabilitation, medical cases, hospital treatment, and burial and survivors benefits. These files include appeals from members and their dependents from both the bituminous Welfare and Retirement Fund and the Anthracite Health and Welfare Fund (the latter for districts 1, 7, and 9).

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36 10

36 6

36 01-02

36 4

36 3

36 5

36 11

36 9

36 07-08

11 23

11 25

11 22

11 24

11 26

11 28

11 29

11 30

11 31

11 32

11 27

11 47

11 35

11 38

11 36-37

11 40

11 33

11 34

11 39

11 41

11 42

11 44

11 45

11 46

11 43

11 58

12 19

12 22

11 52

12 04-05

11 59-61

12 8

11 53-54

11 48

11 55

12 11

11 49

11 56

12 1

12 12

11 50

11 51

12 20

11 57

12 02-03

12 6

12 9

12 13-14

12 17

12 21

12 23

12 25

12 24

12 15

12 18

12 10

12 7

12 16

12 28

12 35

12 27

12 26

12 29

12 31

12 32

12 33

12 34

12 36

12 30

13 1

13 2

13 6

13 3

13 5

13 4

13 7

13 8

13 10

13 9

13 11

14 15

14 19

13 18

13 19-22

13 24-26

14 3

14 08-09

13 14-17

14 4

14 6

14 11

14 16

14 20

14 23

13 12-13

14 12

13 23

14 1

14 5

14 7

14 13

14 17

14 21

14 24

14 22

14 14

14 18

14 25

14 2

14 10

14 26

14 32

15 01-05

15 08-11

15 12-13

14 30-31

14 28

15 14

15 7

15 15

15 18

15 23

15 26

16 2

14 27

16 4

14 29

15 6

15 16-17

15 19-20

15 24

16 1

16 3

15 21-22

15 25

9 4

9 7

9 2

9 16

9 3

9 5

9 9

9 11

9 17

9 14

9 19

9 21

9 1

9 6

9 8

9 10

9 12

9 15

9 18

9 20

9 22

9 13

16 8

16 13

16 09-11

16 14

16 06-07

16 5

16 12

16 15

16 17

16 18

16 16

16 20

16 19

16 21

16 22

16 23

16 24

16 25

16 28

17 2

17 3

16 27

16 26

17 1

17 4

17 6

17 5

17 7

17 8

17 9

17 16-17

17 13-15

17 18

17 11

17 12

17 24

17 10

17 20

17 22

17 26

17 27

17 25

17 21

17 23

17 19

18 18

18 04-06

18 08-09

18 11

18 3

18 20

18 22

18 01-02

17 28

18 7

18 10

18 12

18 13

18 15

18 19

18 21

18 23

18 14

18 16

18 17

9 26

9 25

9 28

9 24

9 31

9 23

9 32

9 33

9 27

9 29

9 30

19 3

19 21

19 4

19 05-08

19 10-11

19 13

19 2

19 15

19 22

19 24

19 26

19 1

19 9

19 12

19 14

19 16

19 19

19 23

19 25

19 27

19 17

19 20

19 18

20 4

20 9

20 05-06

20 02-03

20 7

20 1

20 8

20 10

20 11

20 12

20 13

20 14

20 15

20 16

10 4

10 5

10 6

10 2

10 1

10 3

10 7

10 9

10 10

10 11

10 8

10 15

10 23

10 18

10 16

10 13

10 12

10 14

10 17

10 19

10 20

10 21

10 22

10 24

10 25

20 17

10 29

10 30

10 31

10 33

10 27

10 26

10 28

10 32

10 34

10 35

10 38

10 39

10 40

10 36

10 37

10 44

10 42

10 43

10 45

10 41

10 46

10 48

10 49

10 50

10 51

10 47

11 5

11 6

11 2

11 4

11 1

11 3

11 7

11 8

11 9

11 10

11 19

11 16

11 15

11 12

11 14