Mine Workers Arrested Protesting Coal Company Trying to Eliminate their Retirement Benefits

Patriot Coal, a massive coal company that operates mines along Appalachia and the Illinois Basin, moved recently to get out of its collective bargaining agreements it has with its unionized workforce represented by the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA). A judge recently ruled that the company will be allowed to this, essentially giving it the ability to abandon its responsibility to workers who spent their whole lives working for the company. As many as 20,000 workers are expected to lose long-term health benefits.

On Wednesday, the workers decided they weren’t going to allow their retirements to go down without a fight. Hundreds of protesters rallied outside a Henderson, Kentucky courthouse. 15 protesters were arrested, including workers from Kentucky, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Illinois.

“If there is no justice, Peabody, you will have no rest, you will have no peace,” said Dan Kane, who serves as the the United Mine Workers’ secretary-treasurer, at the rally. “You may depend on the poisonous words of a judge to let you out of a debt, but let me tell you, we’ll decide when it’s over, and it ain’t over yet.”

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