Patriot Coal was founded Oct. 31, 2007, when Peabody Energy sold all its union operations east of the Mississippi to the newly created company.
In 2008, Patriot bought Magnum Coal, a company that took over union mines once operated by Arch Coal.
Under those deals, Patriot assumed responsibility for tens of millions of dollars in benefits promised to union members who had already retired from Peabody and Arch coal mines in West Virginia, Kentucky and Illinois.
Patriot filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July 2012. UMW officials have said that Patriot was designed to fail, and that other coal companies wanted to get out of their union-negotiated benefit obligations by shoving them onto a new company that would soon go bankrupt. Patriot officials have denied that.
More than 7,000 miners and their supporters held a rally against Patriot April 1 in Charleston.
During his speech at that rally, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said, "The eyes of America are on us when we stand up against Wall Street cheats for the dignity of our workers."
Patriot, Trumka argued, "stands for everything that is wrong in America today. It is against every American value. You can't game the American system anymore. We won't let you do it anymore."
In a full-page advertisement published in The Charleston Gazette and Charleston Daily Mail on Thursday, the UMW stated Patriot's proposal would not "merely 'transition' the existing program that provides health care for these senior citizens."
The union's ad said Patriot's latest proposal "would eliminate [the existing program] entirely," setting up a completely inadequate fund for its retired miners.
"Patriot was born to fail after Peabody Energy and Arch Coal turned their backs on decades of promises to the miners who made those companies among the most profitable in the world," the ad said.
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.