After a federal bankruptcy judge in St. Louis ruled in May that Patriot could throw out those benefits, Roberts and company negotiators reached a new contract that protected most of them.
Rahall also mentioned the Coal Accountability and Retired Employee Act -- the CARE Act -- a bill that he is co-sponsoring to hold employers accountable for promises made to their workers.
The act is also backed by Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin, both D-W.Va., and Reps. David B. McKinley and Shelley Moore Capito, both R-W.Va.
Rahall said he also backs federal legislation to raise the minimum wage.
Joe Carter, president of the UMW's District 17 in Southern West Virginia, said, "Joe Manchin has been with us in this struggle."
Manchin, who also attended Monday's rally, said, "There is a war on coal today being waged by our own government. Coal is what made this country. People shouldn't abandon it."
Manchin also backed the Patriot miners and retirees.
"We've got to make Peabody pay what they are responsible for," he said. "This needs to be changed in Congress. "
Secretary of State Natalie Tenant said, "We all deserve to have dignity, and to have the dignity after we retiree. That is why the Patriot situation has me so appalled.
"We have to come together to say we won't back down. All we are asking for is what we earned, our health care and our pensions," Tennant said.
Nick Casey, a Charleston lawyer and political leader running for Capito's seat also spoke Monday.
"Send me to Washington and I will look out for you," he said. "I hope you will look out for me."
Next year, Capito will run for the seat that Rockefeller has held for nearly three decades. He doesn't plan to run again.Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.