Patriot, UMWA continue wrangling over bankruptcy - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Patriot, UMWA continue wrangling over bankruptcy

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CHARLESTON (AP) -

Bankrupt Patriot Coal's latest offer to a union angry about the possible loss of retirees' pension and health care benefits includes a 35% equity stake in the reorganized company.

The United Mine Workers of America didn't immediately comment Friday. It has staged several protests in St. Louis and in Charleston, drawing attention to what it calls broken promises to pensioners.

The State Journal (http://bit.ly/ZR0owW) says this is Patriot's fifth proposal.

Patriot says it can't survive or protect some 4,000 existing jobs without tackling the $1.6 billion benefits liability. It also still wants to modify the UMWA contract to create a trust fund for those expenses.

Last month, Patriot proposed creating the Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association trust by July with $15 million.

The new proposal extends that to January 2014.

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