UMWA continuing protests related to Patriot bankruptcy - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

UMWA continuing protests related to Patriot bankruptcy

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Active and retired members of the United Mine Workers, along with labor and community supporters, will march and rally in downtown St. Louis on Tuesday.

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Kathy Surratt-States will rule on or before May 29 on a request by Patriot Coal to effectively eliminate health care benefits for more than 23,000 retired miners and their families.

Patriot Coal, which filed for bankruptcy protection last year, was created in 2007 by Peabody Energy and subsequently acquired Magnum Coal, a spinoff of Arch Coal. 

"Let's call this what it really is: Corporate executives schemed to line their own pockets at the expense of sick, retired miners who did the labor that made them rich in the first place," said UMWA President Cecil Roberts.

"We are advocating for the best possible result for our members before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, said Roberts, "but this fight won't end when the judge rules.  We've got additional litigation underway in West Virginia; we've got a bill in Congress which will hold the original employers of these workers accountable; and we will continue to follow these companies and these corporate executives wherever they go."

Officials from Peabody have insisted Patriot had the resources neccessary to succeed. They say the company failed due to market conditions and its own failures.