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Striking miners get raise


Union workers at coal mine in Montana have approved a 4-year contract which will increase their average hourly pay of $25.20 to $27.90 by 2012.

Members of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 400 returned to work at the Rosebud Mine this week after voting 196-84 this week in favor of the contract, which calls for a $1.15 hourly wage increase in the first year and a combined $2.70 hourly wage increase over the next three years.

About 320 members of the IUOE went on strike on March 20, after the union rejected a contract offer from Western Energy Co., the owner of Rosebud Mine and a subsidiary of Westmoreland Coal Co.

A federal mediator assisted in negotiations last week. The wage offer was unchanged.

“We’ve always remained committed to reaching a fair and equitable agreement with the union, and we are pleased that the proposed agreement was ratified,” said Diane Jones, a spokeswoman for Westmoreland Coal.

Union members said they went on strike over contract language that deals with respect, dignity and safety.

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