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ST. LOUIS (AP) - A bankrupt coal producer says it has imposed wage and benefit cuts affecting thousands of its workers, but that the pullbacks are less severe than those authorized by a judge.
But St. Louis-based Patriot Coal Corp. added Tuesday that it will keep retiree health care benefits unchanged for the next two months.
Patriot didn't detail the cuts it has adopted, more than a month after a bankruptcy judge empowered Patriot to abandon its collective-bargaining agreements.
Patriot says its continued bargaining with the United Mine Workers of America union has produced "substantial progress."
A spokesman for the union isn't talking publicly about Patriot's cuts imposed Monday, saying only that the union is still meeting with the company to make further improvements over the bankruptcy court's order.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is weighing whether to sign legislation that would allow children's non-related legal guardians to receive adoption subsidies.
Currently only grandparents, aunts, uncles, adult siblings or cousins can get state-sponsored subsidies when they become the legal guardians of a child.
But a bill passed by the Legislature would expand that list to include people who are not blood relatives if their lives and those of a child are "intermingled" in a manner similar to a family relationship.
The subsidies are payments given to guardians to help pay for the child's care.
The bill was sponsored by Republican Sen. John Lamping, of St. Louis.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Legislation awaiting action by Gov. Jay Nixon seeks to comply with federal mandates for Missouri's unemployment benefits system.
The measure also could make it more difficult for workers to receive jobless benefits if they are let go after an unapproved absence or if they knowingly violate a company rule.
The legislation would broaden the definition of what constitutes "misconduct." Jobless benefits can be denied to workers who lose their position because of misbehavior.
The unemployment legislation also includes changes aimed at complying with requirements from the federal government. Failing to comply could cost employers more than $800 million in federal tax credits while state government could lose a couple hundred million dollars for programs.
Lawmakers gave the legislation final approval before adjourning last week.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - A bankrupt St. Louis-based coal company's push to significantly cut thousands of retirees' health care and pension benefits is in the hands of a judge.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kathy Surratt-States has until May 29 to decide the matter that last week was argued before her by attorneys for Patriot Coal Corp. and the United Mine Workers of America union. It's not clear how soon any ruling may come.
Patriot's proposed benefits cuts have been the most contentious aspect of its bankruptcy case since the Peabody Energy Corp. spinoff filed for Chapter 11 protection last summer. The company says it would have to spend $1.6 billion to cover retirees' health care costs, and that if that didn't change it might risk liquidation.
The union considers the cuts immoral, drastic and unfair.