The Heritage Corner, Springhill Record

March 11, 2009

Wed. Mar. 11, 2009 – Employee Death Benefit Plan


By Pat Crowe

Until 1944 the employees of the Cumberland Railway and Coal Company did not have any provisions made for the dependents of deceased employees who were not covered by the provisions of the Workmen’s Compensation Act.

On March 15, 1944 the members came together to form the Employee’ Death Benefit Plan which was open to all employees of the Company under the conditions set forth in the Constitution. The President was Aubrey Osmond, Vice-President – Lancelot Swift, Vice President – Maurice Hatherly and Secretary Treasurer – John A. Reedy.

Under the Constitution of the Employee’ Death Benefit Plan

All employees of the Cumberland Railway and Coal Company shall be eligible for membership in the plan.

The Plan shall be administered by an administrative board consisting of four members.

Each member had to sign a membership card which stated on the front:

To Cumberland Railway and Coal Company or its successor:

In the event of the death of any employee of the Cumberland Railway and Coal Company, who is a member of the Employees’ Death Benefit Plan(other than accidental Death in the course of his employment), you are hereby authorized to deduct from my earnings the sum of Fifty Cents and pay the same to the Administrative Board of the Employees’ Death Benefit Plan, to be disposed of by the said Board in accordance with the terms of the aforesaid Plan.

Check No. Colliery Dept. Date

Signature of Member Witnessed by P.T.O.

On the reverse side:

In the event of my death, the Administrative Board is hereby authorized to pay any moneys that may accrue to my estate under the Provisions of the Employees’ Death Benefit Plan to my beneficiary whom I declare to be:

Name of Beneficiary Address

Signature of Member Witnessed by.

Any member could cease to be a member of the plan if he voluntarily withdrew his membership card from the Company Office; on being discharged from the employ of the Company for infractions or violations of the rules and regulations governing his employment; and by failing for any reason to meet three successive death payments, provided, however, that such member shall be entitled to his case brought before the Board to investigate and the Board in its discretion reinstate such member.

Any member who upon being retired from his employment for reasons of sickness or injury or was laid off due to temporary suspension of work could still remain a member of the plan as long as he continued to pay the sum of Fifty Cents to the Board.

Upon the death of any member in good standing the Board shall pay to his beneficiary named in his membership card the amount collected from the other members of the Plan following such death; provided, however that should such member, in violation of the spirit of the Plan, have named as his beneficiary some person other than his rightful heirs or those upon whom the expenses of his burial would nominally fall, then the Board may in its discretion refuse to accept such beneficiary, (and shall call a special meeting of the membership for their finding and direction in respect to naming a beneficiary).

The rules for the Board were as follows:

The Board is to consist of four members, who shall be the President, the Vice-President, the 2 nd Vice-President and the Secretary-Treasurer.

The President shall be the President of the Miners’ Union and the remaining three members shall be elected each year at the annual meeting, and any of the officers shall be eligible for re-election for the ensuing year. The board shall elect its own Secretary-Treasurer from among its members. The Board had the duty of administrating the Plan. Each member of the Board had one vote and if there were a tie, the President shall have the casting vote. The financial year of the Plan ended on the 31 st day of December and the books of the Secretary-Treasurer shall be audited between that date and the date of the Annual Meeting ( the date of which being on or before the 28 th day of February of each year.) A general meeting may be called at the request, in writing of at least fifty members. No member of the Board shall be entitled to receive any remuneration for his services.