labor

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The nation's biggest miners' union and Patriot Coal Co. say they have reached a potential settlement over the severity of wage and benefits cuts a bankruptcy judge had allowed the company to impose.

The United Mine Workers of America isn't publicly revealing details of the deal, pending Friday's scheduled ratification vote by its members. St. Louis-based Patriot also isn't releasing the terms.

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Gov. Jay Nixon has appointed a former state lawmaker as acting director of the agency responsible for collecting unemployment insurance taxes and paying jobless benefits.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reported Wednesday that Nixon has named Ken Jacob to head the state Labor Department's Division of Employment Security.

Jacob, a Democrat from Columbia, will serve as acting director in place of Gracia Backer, who left the position without a public explanation. A permanent nomination requires Senate confirmation.