Del. Mike Caputo

Marion County Delegate Mike Caputo is making no apologies for his Jan. 29 arrest in St. Louis in connection with the Patriot Coal controversy.

Caputo, a longtime member of the UMWA, talked about the civil disobedience arrest Monday during a House floor speech in support of a resolution calling for Patriot to live up to its promises.

“Enough is enough!” Caputo exclaimed. “Where would the Civil Rights movement be today if Dr. King said, ‘Yes sir, I’ll move. I didn’t mean to cause you any problems officer.’ Or if Rosa Parks said, ‘Oh, I’m sorry it won’t happen again. I’ll move to the back of the bus,’” Caputo asked.

The United Mine Workers Union is waging a campaign against Patriot and its bankruptcy case. The union maintains the company was set up to fail by Peabody and Arch coal companies so the companies wouldn’t have to pay benefits to retired miners and their families.

Caputo says pension health care benefits from Patriot produce $200 million a year in health care spending in West Virginia. He told fellow delegates allowing the companies to be relieved from their obligations would be an economic hit. But Caputo focused most of his remarks on retired miners who are in danger of losing their pension benefits.

“If they get away with this many people who are dependent on life-saving medications just simply won’t be able to afford it and they will die. There’s just no nice way to put that, they will die,” Caputo said.

In a statement released last week Peabody called the UMWA’s designed to fail claim “a desperate attempt to rewrite history.” The company says Patriot Coal was highly successful in its first five years but purchased Magnum Coal in 2008 and after that ”a series of other unforeseen events affecting all coal producers followed – all on Patriot’s watch.”

Peabody says it has lived up to its obligations and continues to do so.

Caputo strongly disagrees.

“Arch promised. Arch lied. Peabody promised. Peabody lied,” the delegate said Monday.

The UMWA has a large rally scheduled for next Monday in Charleston.

The House resolution passed 93-4 with Republican delegates Troy Andes, J.B. McCuskey, Marty Gearheart and John Overington voting against it.

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  • UMWA Member Local 5958

    Patriot work you have been packing chicken & and lemon pies to your bosses to long "WAKE UP" they can't help you anymore !! Your $20,000 in donations back to Hatfield (AKA) murder / THIEF he only laughs at your weakness . Take a stand for yourself make your family proud of you for once and say know more Patriot THIEFs. I invite you to Charleston WV April 1st to come out and gather with some of the men & women that has and still are fighting for your rights , your safety, your Healthcare benifits, your wages before you let them just have 20,000 ! This might help you fill better that some people have and are willing to die fighting for their rights ! One other thing Patriot worker we are not asking for nothing that we were not promised before we done our work this is what they owe us for the work we have already preformed & and the work we still preform every day ! God bless the UMWA !!!

  • patriot worker

    I work for patriot..not a salary guy..a worker..i don't agree with how this is turning out...BUT..i still have a family to take care of too.ive lost almost $20,000 in income in the last year..not happy with that either...ive worked union...and a lot of things that are happening to them they brought it upon themselves.

    • UMWA member L.U. 5958

      Hey patriot worker I'm sure patriot really appreciates the $20,000 donation....of course you brought that on yourself right? You asked them to take money away from your family right? Dig a little deeper because they're gonna take back the money they match in your 401K too! But I'm sure you don't mind, after all....you brought it on yourself!

      • Jeremy 5958

        Patriot workers $20,000 went straight to Ben hatfields bank account. PW is soo good to them.

    • UMWA member L.U. 5958

      Hey patriot worker are you saying the UMWA has brought this on itself?

    • Jeremy 5958

      What have we bought on ourselves? Over half the retired worker either work for Peabody or arch they never worked for patriot. I know one thing the union will fight before we lose $20,000 a year. Stand up for yourself. Don't settle just bc they say they aren't making money it's BS.

  • Missinglink

    Way to go Mike Caputo. We need more people to stand up and fight for what is right! Hey UpChuck/WoodChuck what have you every stood up for? Republican delegates Troy Andes, J.B. McCuskey, Marty Gearheart and John Overington should be ashamed for voting against this. King Coal screws the worker once again.

  • Jeremy 5958

    Thank u mike caputo. I know u have our back. I'm just waitin on the call to whatever we need to do. I am willing to Stand up for this union. Whatever it takes for my retired brothers and sisters to keep the healthcare they worked for. We aren't askin for extra. Only what was promised to us. Can't Wait til April 1st. The question is- which side are you on ?

  • UMWA member L.U. 5958

    Let us remember the 4 who sided with a company from St Louis, MO and turned their backs on residents from the very state that elected them! Good luck in the next election guys. And Woodchuck0 please crawl back under your rock you troll!

    Thank you Mike Caputo and long live the UMWA!! See you Monday!!

  • Joe

    Mr. Caputo:

    Let me help you and your House of Delegates colleagues along in terms of a draft bill:

    Any company or corp (or any of its subsidiaries) who do business is WV, and who have signed an agreement to provide retiree benefits, will either honor those commitments to the full, or otherwise will pay 1.5 times said amount in additional taxes. This revenue will then be administered by the state of WV where it will be directed toward said retirees and their families to fully fund promised healthcare benefits.

  • Mike

    Come on mike...... Call on our union brothers to stand up and shut down production for a day. Line up in front of federal #2 and ask the working union miners to stand with us retires. What was the house resolution.? Did it do anything? Did mike and Cecil going to st. Louis do anything? Let me answer those questions. NOPE. The rally next week is what a short walk and two hours of speakers. I can see a lot of good coming out of that.

  • Keefe

    Coal is about the only industry closings or issues in WV politicians will stick their neck out for. The rest they will do nothing unless it benefits them or their cronies. What am I saying Coal benefits them and the rest of us. Thank you miners for my electricity. To bad they do not stick up for the rest of the people. One of these days the coal will run out.

  • Joe

    Mr. Caputo:

    Why no mention of the hundreds of Century Aluminum retirees and families whose promised healthcare benefits were reneged on?!

  • derek

    Good job Mr.Caputo we need more to follow your leadership. Thanks for backing us miners. Maybe Joe and Jay will follow suit.

  • Woodchuck0

    Mike Caputo should work toward less govt regulations then he would not have been arrested. Good publicity stunt but no help.

    Talk about promoting violence and civil unrest. Funny method of getting street cred with your people. I can hear the bragging now... I got arrested for blah blah.

    Who is paying your legal bills? UMWA or who?

    Companies could afford to offer healthcare...but now everybody knows Uncle Sam is in the business so let them figure it out.

    What do you want Mike? Company pays, Medicare pays, Obama care pays, where does it stop?

    Does Mike Capitol know what is best for you as a UMWA retiree? He is spending your money on legal bills, political nonsense, and ... Instead of helping the retires...

    • UMWA member Local 5958

      Mr woodchuck you are an idiot. You must be suffering from the ostrich syndrome when ever adversity enters your life you stick your head in a hole leaving your butt exposed for the world to take advantage of.we know your type let someone else do the fighting and you set back and reap the benefits. Every right and every ounce of freedom you have someone fought for and died for. You probably have never stood up for anything in your life . Other than behind your computer talking about something you know nothing about . Mr. Caputo thank you for standing up for what's right !!