November 30, 1983
(Opinion issued in letter form; name and address deleted)
Re: Opinion of Trustees
Resolution of Dispute
Case No. 81-17
Pursuant to Article IX of the United Mine Workers of America 1950 Benefit Plan and Trust, and
under the authority of an exemption granted by the United States Department of Labor, the
Trustees have reviewed the facts and circumstances of this dispute concerning benefit coverage
for a Pensioner by the Employer under the terms of the Employer’s Benefit Plan and hereby
render their opinion on the matter.
Your Employer signed the National Bituminous Coal Wage Agreement of 1981 on September
21, 1981, but the parties specified a retroactive effective date of June 7, 1981 in Article I of the
Wage Agreement. You paid the premiums for your own benefit coverage for the period May
1981 through August 1981. Benefit coverage was provided by the Employer from September
1981 through June 1982. The Funds’ auditors found that the Employer went out of business on
June 3, 1982. Of course, since July 1982, you have received health benefits coverage under the
UMWA 1974 Benefit Plan.
The Employer’s obligation to provide benefit coverage arose under the terms of Article XX
(c)(3) of the National Bituminous Coal Wage Agreement of 1981. Although the Employer did
not sign the Wage Agreement until September 21, 1981, it specified June 7, 1981, as the
effective date of its contractual obligations, and therefore was responsible for the provision of
benefit coverage from that date. The Trustees, therefore, are of the opinion that the Employer
was responsible for your benefit coverage during the period from June 7, 1981, through August
By executing the 1981 Wage Agreement with a retroactive effective date, the Employer obliged
itself to provide the benefits specified under the Employer’s Benefit Plan retroactive to June 7,
1981. The 1981 Wage Agreement contains no provision requiring the Employer to reimburse
employees for health insurance premiums they paid on their own behalf during the period before
the Employer executed the 1981 Wage Agreement. The Employer’s obligation is limited to
reimbursing you for amounts that were billed for services covered under the terms of the
Employer’s Benefits Plan.
Harrison Combs, Chairman _____________
John J. O’Connell, Trustee
Opinion of Trustees
Resolution of Dispute
Case No. 81-17
Page 2
Paul R. Dean, Trustee