EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSMore Than 30 Arrested In Protest Against Patriot Coal
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Latasha Hughes
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Reported: Jul. 9, 2013 11:14 AM EDT
Updated: Jul. 10, 2013 9:06 AM EDT
Fairmont, Marion , West Virginia
More than 30 people, including United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts, were arrested for acts of civil disobedience during a protest against Patriot Coal.
Thousands of active and retired coal miners and their families braved rainy weather Tuesday to rally in Fairmont. They were campaigning for what they call fair benefits from Patriot Coal.
A federal bankruptcy judge approved Patriot's plan to cut health care benefits for retired miners.
The UMWA said Patriot was set up by Peabody Coal to fail and that the company was never provided with sufficient assets to cover its obligations.
The union is in negotiations with Patriot Coal to try and save some benefits for retirees.
Patriot has said it will continue health care for retired miners through August.
Earlier this month, the company cut the pay and benefits of its active miners.
Several thousand coal miners and their families have gathered in West Virginia to protest bankrupt Patriot Coal's plan to cut benefits.
Tuesday's event at a football practice field in Fairmont is the 14th protest by the United Mine Workers of America. United Steelworkers president Leo Gerard told the crowd that every union is threatened if Patriot gets away with shedding legacy costs and breaking promises.
Patriot said last week it's imposing less severe wage and benefit cuts on its miners than it could have under a court ruling. The company also said it will keep retired workers' health plans unchanged for the next two months.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kathy Surratt-States ruled May 29 that Patriot could abandon its collective-bargaining agreements with the union.
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