CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Hundreds of active and retired members of the United Mine Workers and their supporters protested near Peabody Energy's national headquarters in St. Louis on Tuesday morning.
The protest came a day after Patriot Coal and the UMW announced they reached a tentative agreement to resolve an ongoing dispute about wages, working conditions, health-care benefits and pensions.
Patriot filed for bankruptcy in St. Louis in July 2012, citing financial difficulties caused by debts the company assumed after taking over union mines previously operated by Arch Coal and Peabody Energy.
On Tuesday, UMW President Cecil E. Roberts said, "We have reached a tentative settlement with Patriot Coal which will lessen the impact of severe cutbacks on active and retired miners.
"But as we've said all along, Patriot really is bankrupt and just does not have sufficient resources to pay for the contractual promises made to retired miners and their families by Peabody and Arch.
"We're back at Peabody because that's where this problem started," Roberts said. "Executives at Peabody Energy created Patriot. They failed to give it enough assets to meet its obligations."
On July 30, more than 3,000 mine workers and supporters picketed outside Arch Coal's headquarters in Creve Coeur, Mo. Ten were arrested for civil disobedience.
When Patriot was created in 2007, the new company acquired all the union mines Peabody operated east of the Mississippi River.