Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

January 29, 2013

10 UMWA members arrested during St. Louis protest


Associated Press

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The president of the United Mine Workers of America and nine other leaders have been arrested while protesting outside the St. Louis headquarters of Peabody Energy.

Peabody is one of the companies the union holds responsible for Patriot Coal's bankruptcy.

That bankruptcy jeopardizes pension and health care benefits for some 20,000 people, mostly in West Virginia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.

Current and former miners from those states rallied Tuesday at a federal building in St. Louis, then marched to Peabody headquarters and sat down in the street.

Spokesman Phil Smith says the 10 were charged with obstructing traffic.

The union says saving families' benefits may not mean much to Wall Street, but to active and retired coal miners, health benefits can mean the difference between life and death.