Patriot Coal Denies Walking Out Of Talks With Mine Workers Union

Jun 13, 2013

Updated 6:15 p.m.

UMWA tweeted this afternoon that they and Patriot have "agreed to return to the bargaining table next week."

Original Story:

St. Louis-based Patriot Coal officials deny that the company "walked out" of talks with the United Mine Workers of America earlier this week.

In a statement released late Wednesday Patriot president and CEO Bennett Hatfield called the UMWA’s assertion "inaccurate and distorted."

Last month a federal bankruptcy judge approved Patriot’s plan to change the collective bargaining agreement.

Union officials said Wednesday that Patriot officials walked out of talks and indicated that the court-approved plan would take effect July 1.

The UMWA plans a vote before then, which could lead to a strike.

In Patriot’s statement Hatfield said a strike would "put the company on the path to liquidation," which would be the "worst possible outcome for UMWA employees and retirees."

UMWA President Cecil Roberts speaking earlier this year before a rally. Roberts has said he would not recommend miners agree to the terms approved by a federal bankruptcy judge in May.
Credit Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio.