Kevin Killeen

ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–For the seventh time this year, thousands of United Mine Workers rally outside Peabody Energy, accusing the coal company of loading much of its union contract obligations onto a spinoff company — Patriot Coal — that was “designed to fail.”

Peabody has repeatedly denied the allegation, saying Patriot was created to win, and was thriving and profitable at first, but later failed due to “market forces.”

A U.S. Bankruptcy Court here is scheduled to issue a ruling on the Patriot Coal case sometime before May 29, unless all parties agree to seek an extension.

“The dream outcome would be that the pensioners keep their health care ,” said UMWA President Cecil Roberts, “I realize how hard that is and how difficult that is. All you have to do is look at bankruptcy law, and it’s terrible for workers.”

UMWA members raise their hand when asked how many veterans are in the crowd.

UMWA members raise their hand when asked how many veterans are in the crowd.

Roberts was asked by KMOX what impact, he hopes the labor rallies and civil disobedience arrests here might have on the court case.

“I don’t know if it has a lot of effect on the judicial system itself,” he said, “But I do believe it’s inspirational to the entire labor movement. And I believe we got a movement here that might lead to a change in bankruptcy law.”

Copyright KMOX

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