CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The United Mine Workers of America began running television spots in the St. Louis market last Monday explaining how, in its view, Peabody Energy, Arch Coal and Patriot Coal conspired to shed their obligations to provide health-care benefits for retirees and widows.
Peabody spun off Patriot in 2007. Patriot later acquired mines that Arch spun off into Magnum Coal. Patriot filed bankruptcy in July and is reorganizing.
In November the union won its effort to move the bankruptcy case from federal court in New York City. The case was shifted to St. Louis, the headquarters of Peabody, Arch and Patriot.
Following news stories about employment losses in West Virginia and migration out of the state last year, West Virginia Chamber of Commerce President Steve Roberts sent a letter to all members of the Legislature urging them to move quickly on an agenda that includes education reforms, fair trials, transportation, energy and health-care issues.
"Our members employ over half of the workforce in West Virginia which leaves us uniquely positioned to address issues around workforce readiness and our economy," Roberts wrote.
Chesapeake Energy Corp., a major participant in the Marcellus Shale natural gas field in West Virginia, plans to slash its charitable spending, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The company spent more than $56 million on charities between 2010 and 2011, according to The Journal.