Mine Workers Threaten Demonstrations in St. Louis

The United Mine Workers union is threatening civil disobedience in St. Louis and elsewhere to protest the potential loss of pension and health-care benefits from Patriot Coal Corp.’s decision to seek bankruptcy protection.

In an interview, Mine Workers president Cecil Roberts likened his union’s resolve to the Pittston Coal Strike in 1989, when some 4,000 miners were arrested in Virginia during a 14-month strike to protest termination of health-care benefits for retirees, widows and disabled miners.

Roberts, who directed the Pittston campaign before heading the union, said he views the Chapter 11 filing of Creve Coeur-based Patriot and events leading to it as a “moral issue” requiring the Mine Workers to make a stand.

The Mine Workers call their campaign “Fairness at Patriot,” but a primary target is Peabody Energy Corp., of St. Louis, which spun off Patriot and some of its liabilities in 2007.

Read more on St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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