Shirley Inman worked for Hobet Mining for almost 19-years. She finished her mining career with Magnum Coal. Magnum is now owned by Patriot and for the time being, Patriot Coal pays here health care benefits. She’s worried it won’t be there much longer.
“Peabody and Arch set Patriot up to fail and get rid of all the pensioners,” she said.
Inman beat cancer when she was in her 30s. She knows she’s at great risk of getting sick a second time. She worries this time, she may not have the health insurance she was promised to battle the dreaded illness.
“I worked for less wages, wore my body out, because I was told I’m more likely to get cancer again,” she said. “I worked with the promise of a pension and a medical card.”
She joined more than 500 union retirees in St. Louis Tuesday to protest Patriot’s bankruptcy proceedings. She, and many others, fear Patriot will be relieved of their obligations to pay the retiree benefits as part of a bankruptcy reorganization.
“If the courts let Patriot do this, it’s not just Patriot it’s Peabody and Arch,” she said. “This will affect all of the United States, it won’t just be us, it will affect everybody.”