The United Mine Workers are unhappy with the decision of a bankruptcy court to side with Patriot Coal today. The ruling is the latest chapter in saga concerning benefits for retired miners. Patriot Coal is an independent company, but was created by spinning off part of Peabody Energy. Patriot argued they needed to cut retiree's benefits to stay in business. The Miners argued they had been promised benefits and should not have them taken away. The decision came on the last day the court could rule on the matter.
KTRS's Michael Golde is on the scene and reports that the protesters' goal was to get arrested. They hope to draw attention to what they believe is a unfair deal concerning their pension and health benefits.
Peabody's Senior Vice President of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications Vic Svec, says this is a matter between Patriot coal and the United Mine Workers of America. Many of the former miners at the protest, worked for Patriot Coal. They argue that Peabody Energy made Patriot Coal a separate company that was never supposed to succeed. They accuse Peabody of "fraudulent conveyance,” or transfer of money with the intent to hurt creditors, but that charge must be proved to hold Peabody liable for potential losses in retirement benefits.
There were also miners arrested at another protest of Peabody last month. The protest remains peaceful and those miners arrested were very cordial with police, even shaking hands with the arresting officers.