St. LOUIS, Mo. — United Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts and select members of his union offered themselves up for arrest Tuesday, yet another protest in the union’s ongoing dispute over the bankruptcy of Patriot Coal.
It’s the eighth time Roberts has been arrested in similar protests across the country.
“I’ll get arrested 108 times if I have to,” Roberts told the rain-soaked St. Louis crowd.
The union targeted Tuesday’s demonstration toward Arch Coal Corporation, one of the players involved. Union members rallied outside Arch headquarters. Past demonstrations have been held outside the headquarters of Peabody Coal in St. Louis and Patriot Coal’s offices in Charleston.
Roberts rallied the crowd and expressed solidarity among a number of labor unions gathered for the event.
“I want every union to finally stand up collectively and say, ‘We’ve had enough!’”
The UMWA claims Patriot was deliberately set up to fail by Arch Coal and Peabody by dumping their long held pension and retiree healthcare obligations onto the newly formed company. Patriot filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and continues to negotiate with the UMWA in hopes of saving the company.
The union is promising to hold Peabody and Arch accountable for the retiree pension and healthcare obligations negotiated down through the years with their companies.