ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) — Sixteen people, including eleven retired coal miners, were arrested Monday in the latest non-violent demonstration against Peabody Energy spin-off Patriot Coal.

At issue in the case — to what extent should Peabody bear the cost of Patriot Coal’s union obligations?

The United Mine Workers of America allege Patriot was created to go bankrupt so Peabody could wash its hands of union contracts. Peabody says it was a profitable company at first that failed due to changing market forces.

In all some four-thousand demonstrators showed up Monday, the largest in a series of protests against Peabody this year.

The legal tussle being argued this week may be the most-contentious issue tied to Patriot’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The hearing could last through Friday.

Patriot was spun off from Peabody Energy Corp. in 2007. Patriot hit hard times in recent years, with the company citing exceptionally soft coal markets, rising costs and “unsustainable legacy liabilities” tied to the spinoff.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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