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Posted in News,Uncategorized on July 10, 2013
Yesterday, July 9, 2013, thousands of active and retired miners descended upon Fairmont, West Virginia, to rally against Patriot Coal. The UMWA is protesting the actions by Peabody Coal, Arch Coal, and Patriot Coal, regarding health care benefits. Miners who were promised health care benefits as part of their negotiated contracts are in a position where those benefits may no longer be available. The UMWA is protesting actions by Peabody and Arch which the union says caused Patriot to unavoidably go into bankruptcy. At the Rally, UMWA President Cecil Roberts asked how a company could walk away from retirees at a time when they need their health care the most?
The Fairmont event was in support of retired miners and their families who are losing their healthcare and for active miners who are seeing cuts in wages and benefits due to Patriot Coal’s bankruptcy. Patriot Coal went public as a spinoff from Peabody Energy in 2007. In 2008, the corporation acquired Magnum Coal Company which had formerly gained assets and liabilities from Arch Coal. With the spinoff of Peabody and the purchase of Magnum, Patriot took on the responsibility of providing benefits to former employees and retirees of Peabody and Arch.
As part of the rally, thirty people, including UMWA President Cecil Roberts, AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker, UMW International Secretary-Treasurer Dan Kane; and Mike Caputo, District 31 International Vice President of the UMWA, were arrested in an act of civil disobedience. In a show of unity and support, the attorneys at the Manchin Injury Law Group volunteered their services to act as local counsel for the thirty arrested individuals.