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UMWA continues Patriot-Peabody protests

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Members of the United Mine Workers of America take part in a protest outside the of headquarters of Peabody Energy, one of the companies the union accuses of orchestrating business deals that bankrupted Patriot Coal, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, in St. Louis. Ten people were arrested during the protest of bankruptcy proceedings that the union says jeopardizes pension and health care benefits for some 20,000 retirees and dependents. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Here’s the report today from The Associated Press, via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on the latest United Mine Workers of America civil disobedience action in the Patriot Coal bankruptcy (see here and here for background):

Protesters from the United Mine Workers of America picketed this morning outside the headquarters of Peabody Energy. That’s one of the companies the union accuses of orchestrating business deals that bankrupted Patriot Coal.

The protest ended before noon and 10 people were arrested.

Meanwhile, as Taylor Kuykendall reports in the State Journal:

The protest follows a filing by Patriot Coal requesting approximately $6 million in bonuses to be paid to about 120 executives and managers while it goes through bankruptcy reorganization. The UMWA said the move was a “callous disregard for the lives and well-being of thousands of active and retired workers and their families.”

“While Patriot is handing out cash to managers and executives, thousands of retirees and widows the company is responsible for are worried about having to choose between buying groceries or getting the prescription drugs they need to live,” said UMWA President Cecil Roberts. “That $6 million would pay for a month’s worth of health care for retirees, dependents and widows. It’s also $6 million Patriot could use to fight Peabody Energy and Arch Coal in court to get them to pay for these obligations.”

According to a statement from Patriot Coal, the company’s CEO and executive team will not participate in the retention and annual incentive plans filed yesterday. 

“The purpose of these plans is to motivate key employees to remain with Patriot and to achieve financial and operating performance goals that are essential to the Company becoming viable through reorganization.,” Patriot stated. “A successful reorganization is critical to Patriot’s survival and to saving 4,000 jobs.”

You can read the court filing here.