Members of the United Mine Workers of America and other unions rallied in St. Louis today. Hundreds of United Mine Workers and supports marched through the streets of St. Louis today as part of a rally in front of the corporate headquarters of Peabody Energy. Miners are protesting the potential loss of health benefits.
UMWA District 17 Vice President Joe Carter claims Peabody along with Missouri based Arch Coal created a subsidiary mining company in 2007 known as Patriot Coal to off–load more than 500–million dollars in miner medical benefits. Patriot has since declared bankruptcy. Carter claims the health benefits of more than 20,000 retired miners and their families in Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia are at risk.
While Patriot only owns one mine is western Kentucky, UMWA spokesman Phil Smith said more than 6,000 retired miners stand to lose their benefits in Western Kentucky, Southern Illinois and Indiana.
Carter said the miner's benefits are in danger if the bankruptcy court releases Patriot from its outstanding debts. Peabody spokesman Vic Svec says this is a decision for a bankruptcy judge and not the court of public opinion.