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Peabody Reaches Deal With United Mine Workers Over Retiree Benefits

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UMWA members raise their hand when asked how many veterans are in the crowd. (KMOX/Kevin Killeen)

UMWA members raise their hand when asked how many veterans are in the crowd. (KMOX/Kevin Killeen)

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) – A deal has been struck between Peabody Energy Co. and the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA).

The announced came late Wednesday.

Miners have been loudly protesting at the base of Peabody’s downtown headquarters for months, after spin-off Patriot Coal filed for bankruptcy and put retiree health benefits in question.

As part of the deal, Peabody will pay $310 million into the retiree health fund, and Patriot will pay $60 million, pending bankruptcy judge approval:

“Patriot has reached a separate agreement with Peabody, with Arch Coal, and with an investor called Knighthead Capital that will allow Patriot, we think, to emerge from bankruptcy,” said UMWA spokesman Phil Smith.

According to Reuters, the deal will help Patriot emerge out of chapter 11 bankruptcy by the end of the year. Something the company has to do to honor the deal.

Smith with UMWA told KMOX the deal still doesn’t cover all benefits, so they will continue to urge Congress to renew the Coal Act.

“We’re pleased that we have been able to reach this agreement with Peabody and with Patriot, but we’re not finished yet,” he said.

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