FAIRMONT, W.Va. — The United Mine Workers of America’s well-documented fight with Patriot Coal, Arch Coal, and Peabody Coal will return to West Virginia next month.
The union is planning a rally and protest of the Patriot bankruptcy fallout July 9th in Fairmont.
“There are a lot of folks who work at the Federal Two mine, which is a Patriot mine, and a lot more retirees from that mine who worked for Peabody,” said Phil Smith of the UMWA. “As we’ve had with every rally, there will be a lot of folks coming in on busses.”
The logistics of the rally are still begin planned. Tentatively, the football stadium at Fairmont State is being considered for the gathering. Some of the union’s past protests have drawn as many as 10,000 people.
Smith said West Virginia is important in their struggle against the three companies and a lot of West Virginia residents are impacted by the outcome of this dispute.
“It’s not just people who are employed in the coal industry who are paying attention and coming to these rallies,” said Smith. “Other labor unions and other ordinary people are getting involved because they see if Peabody and Arch can get away with this scheme, then anybody can.”
The union’s last rally in West Virginia over the issue was in Charleston in April. The crowd was estimated at more than 7,000 and marched from the Charleston Civic Center to Laidley Tower outside the Patriot offices.