ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)– There were more arrests Tuesday morning after miners protest against Peabody Energy for the fifth time in four months.
Thousands gathered at Kiener Plaza in Downtown St. Louis. Most were members of the United Mine Workers of America. They said Peabody spun off the Patriot Coal Company to avoid paying retiree benefits. Patriot Coal is now in bankruptcy court.
Protestors planted crosses in memory of miners who died on the job. Jerry McDowell worked for Denmark Mine in Willisville, Illnois. He said more people will die if the Patriot bankruptcy is successful.
”I don’t know how many dollars it takes to be happy. But, surely they can’t be happy with as many people as they’re hurting,” he said. “Living on Social Security and miner’s pension with no medical, there will be a lot of people that die because of no medical”
St. Louis City Police arrested 13 people. Protestors filled one city Sheriff’s van. Another vehicle was brought in for those still waiting in handcuffs.
In an emailed statement, Peabody Spokesperson Vic Svec refuted the miners’ accusations:
“The UMWA is well aware that Peabody is globally recognized for its excellence in safety. The Union continues to grandstand when it knows that this matter will be decided in the courts.
“Patriot was highly successful following its launch more than five years ago with significant assets, low debt and a market value that more than quadrupled in less than a year.
“Peabody has lived up to its obligations and continues to do so. This is a matter between the union and Patriot Coal, and will be decided in the bankruptcy court.”