Several more members of the United Mine Workers Union and their supporters were arrested Tuesday in St. Louis at another union protest against Patriot Coal, Peabody Energy and Arch Coal.
“There ain’t nobody going to turn us around!”
That was the cry of the crowd gathered for the rainy rally led by UMWA President Cecil Roberts.
“We come today in the name of justice,” Roberts told the crowd. “We come today to speak truth to power because power doesn’t believe in truth.”
Roberts maintains Peabody has lied and stolen from the union by joining Arch in setting up Patriot Coal to fail. That company is in bankruptcy, in part, because he has the health care costs for former Patriot and Arch workers.
Roberts and the others planted 1,000 white crosses at Kiener Plaza near Peabody headquarters. The union says the crosses represent the 666 people who have died in mines operated by Peabody, Arch, Patriot and subsidiaries since 1903.
Peabody has previously said the union is trying to rewrite history. It says Patriot failed because of a series of other unforeseen events affecting all coal producers- all on Patriot’s watch.
Several people were arrested by St. Louis police after refusing to move out of the middle of a street. Roberts was not arrested this time. He promised he’ll join them at another rally scheduled for April 29.
Patriot recently amended its bankruptcy filing saying it would give the union a 35 percent stake in the new company. Roberts said that was a step in the right direction but there remain several unresolved issues.