Mine union members arrested during protest - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Peabody releases statement regarding protests

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Courtesy: UMWA Courtesy: UMWA
SAINT LOUIS -

During a protest in Saint Louis, 13 members of the United Mine Workers of America were arrested. 

The 13 members were arrested after sitting down in front of the federal bankruptcy court after marching from Peabody Energy headquarters. 

Police were waiting as the group sat down in the street.

The group is protesting a perceived plan by Peabody to break Patriot Coal away from the company and dump the retirement liabilities into that company. Patriot Coal filed for bankruptcy in July last year.  

Among the arrested was UMWA President Cecil Roberts.  He was arrested in January this year along with nine others for a similar protest.

This is the fourth protest of this type since the bankruptcy announcement.

Peabody Energy released the following statement: 

The UMWA's claim that Patriot Coal was ‘designed to fail' is a desperate attempt to rewrite history.  Patriot was highly successful following its launch more than five years ago with significant assets, low debt levels and a market value that more than quadrupled in less than a year. 

At the time, analysts cited a bright future for the company's based on its "strong balance sheet," "strong management team" and "excellent valuation prospects."

It is our understanding that when Patriot's market value was high, the company could have strengthened its financial position. Instead, Patriot made a major acquisition of Magnum Coal Company in mid-2008.

A series of other unforeseen events affecting all coal producers followed − all on Patriot's watch.

These included an unprecedented global financial crisis; development of low-cost shale gas that reduced coal use; burdensome regulation by the U.S. EPA that dramatically increased Patriot's environmental compliance costs; an increase in safety regulations that, in turn, increased operating costs; and a significant reduction in the price of Patriot's major product: metallurgical coal. 

Peabody has lived up to its obligations and continues to do so.  The UMWA is fully aware that this is a matter solely between the union and Patriot Coal, and the proper process for deciding such issues is through the bankruptcy court – not the court of public opinion.