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Union Miners Stage Mass Demonstration in Creve Coeur

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United Mine Workers of America rally outside Arch Coal in Creve Coeur, Mo.

United Mine Workers of America rally outside Arch Coal in Creve Coeur, Mo.

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CREVE COEUR, Mo. (KMOX) – Thousands of union miners rallied outside the corporate headquarters of Arch Coal, accusing the company of jeopardizing miners’ retirement benefits by selling off two mines and their union contracts several years ago.

In revival style meeting with prayers, Biblical references and the song “Amazing Grace,” United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts told workers that if Jesus were on the scene he would be on their side.

UMWA President Cecil Roberts speaks to rally outside Arch Coal.

UMWA President Cecil Roberts speaks to rally outside Arch Coal.

“Can you imagine our Savior found a whip and he went into the temple and he drove the money changers out of the temple?” Roberts said.

After the rally, while walking to a per-arranged site where he was part of a group of ten to be arrested for a non-violent sit down, Roberts told KMOX what he has against Arch Coal.

“They spun off the company and created Magnum and Magnum had all the health care responsibilities that used to belong to Arch,” Roberts said.

County Police arrested the ten without incident, as helmeted officers sat watching atop two SWAT trucks.

Afterwards, Arch Coal released a statement:

“We empathize with the many Americans who have been affected by challenging coal markets and who have concerns about health care. However, the union’s protest against Arch Coal is misdirected.

St. Louis County Police prepare to arrest UMWA protestors in non-violent sit down.

St. Louis County Police prepare to arrest UMWA protestors in non-violent sit down.

“Arch Coal sold the former subsidiary companies in question more than seven years ago to an exceptionally strong and well-financed, Boston-based company called ArcLight Capital Partners. ArcLight has grown significantly since that time and continues to prosper today. Arch Coal had no involvement whatsoever with ArcLight’s sale of those and other assets to Patriot Coal Corporation two and a half years later.

“Today’s rally is an attempt to misinform the public about the history of those transactions and to influence negotiations that have nothing to do with Arch. We believe the right place for the union to express concerns is in the bankruptcy court, not on the streets of Creve Coeur.”

Copyright KMOX

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