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UMW Announces Plan To Fight Expected Health Care Cuts By Bankrupt Patriot Coal
Reported by: Bob Aaron
Videographer: John Tincher, Bob Aaron
Web Producer: Bob Aaron
Reported: Aug. 30, 2012 6:33 PM EDT
Updated: Aug. 30, 2012 7:13 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
UMW President Cecil Roberts warned more than 3000 people at the Civic Center today that trouble is coming. Patriot Coal's July bankruptcy is expected to impact 2000 miners, and ten thousand retirees. When you count dependents, it's more than 22,000 people.
Roberts predicts Patriot will ask the courts to radically cut health care benefits.
It's a disturbing prospect for a retired coal miner James Osborne of Madison and his critically ill wife who he said was " willing to fight to the death, the very last breath. She won't give up. If they take that (health care), we might as well go put her in a box. "
Roberts warned that "we'll fight this in the courts, we' ll fight this on the picket lines, in corporate offices! We'll anywhere it on anywhere we have to. "
Patriot cited competition from low natural gas prices and environmental costs when it filed for reorganization. Roberts contends the company was set up to fail as a way out for former owners Peabody and Arch to avoid legacy health costs.
The bankruptcy case is set in New York but the UMW and the Justice Department want it moved to West Virginia where retirees live. Other creditors want it kept in New York. A September 11 hearing will decide the location.
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