Miners rally, again, to protest Patriot Coal bankruptcy

Jun 18, 2013
Originally published on June 18, 2013 3:34 pm

More than a thousand United Mine Workers of America members were back in St. Louis on Monday, the latest in a series of protests against Peabody Energy and its handling of their  retirement and health care benefits.

St. Louis-based Peabody created Patriot Coal Corp. in 2007, and made it financially responsible for most retiree benefits. The rally is the first since a bankruptcy judge ruled last month that Patriot can impose sharp cuts in those benefits to get the company profitable again.

UMWA secretary-treasurer Danny Kane, one of a dozen people arrested at the protest, said the ruling simply "aggravated a sleeping giant".

"We resolve to right this wrong and to fight the injustice as long as it takes," Kane said. 

Steelworkers, government employees, and the Communication Workers of America also had a presence at the rally outside Peabody's St. Louis offices. CWA  chief of staff Ron Collins was arrested alongside Kane.

"I think enough is enough," Collins said. " They come after our seniors. They come after our retirees, and we've got to draw a line in the sand. We need elected and everyone to show up. I've had enough. I hope you've had enough. We will show up for each other's fights."

The union and Patriot Coal are still at the negotiating table, but Patriot could begin implementing the benefits cuts July 1.

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