ST. LOUIS, Mo. — The United Mine Workers of America continued to keep pressure on Peabody and Arch Coal companies over the future health care of retired miners and their widows. In what has become a common occurrence, the union staged yet another demonstration outside Peabody Coal headquarters in St. Louis Monday.
“Peabody and Arch thought when that judge made a decision we wouldn’t come back. Well look out the window, we’re back!” railed UMWA President Cecil Roberts to the large gathering. “One day, if we don’t get justice, we won’t be out here, we’ll be IN THERE!”
“From the statehouse to the White House and everywhere in between working people are getting their brains beat out and we’re sick and tired of it!” — Cecil Roberts, President UMWA
A federal bankruptcy judge ruled Patriot Coal can break its collective bargaining agreement with the UMWA. Such a move would cost thousands of retired miners and their widows health care coverage and pensions. Patriot and the union have agreed to return to bargaining this week in hopes of reaching an agreement which would better suit the union. However, Roberts continued to lay the bulk of the blame at the feet of Peabody and Arch Coal who he calls the “architects of this disaster.”
“Bankruptcy courts and judges in those beautiful buildings that we pay for is a farce,” Roberts said. “Where are our leaders? From the statehouse to the White House and everywhere in between working people are getting their brains beat out and we’re sick and tired of it.”
Roberts and the masses again marched through the streets of St. Louis to the federal courthouse where the judge issued her ruling. Once again, Roberts and a select few members of the group were led away in handcuffs when they sat down in the street and refused to move.
The union’s next rally brings the fight back to West Virginia when a similar rally is scheduled in Fairmont for July.