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Retired coal miners to rally at Capitol for benefits bill

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Thousands of retired coal miners are gathering at the U.S. Capitol to support a bill that would preserve their health and pension benefits.

The United Mine Workers of America says its members and supporters from 13 states, including West Virginia, will rally in Washington on Thursday.

The UMWA called it life-or-death legislation for retired coal miners and widows.

Retirement and health-care funds currently support about 120,000 former miners and their families nationwide.

The account has been depleted amid layoffs and coal bankruptcies as the industry struggles.

Seventy years ago, President Harry S. Truman brokered an agreement to guarantee miners’ lifetime health and retirement benefit.

In related news, Clinton backs bill to protect benefits for ex-coal miners.

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