Patriot Coal

UMWA protest
(Kristi Luther/St. Louis Public Radio)

Patriot Coal filed for Chapter 11 protection Tuesday, less than two years after emerging from bankruptcy.

Patriot, which was spun off from Peabody Energy in 2007, was headquartered in St. Louis until earlier this year. The company is now based in Scott Depot, West Virginia, and filed bankruptcy in the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Virginia.

President and CEO Bob Bennett said “challenging market conditions” in coal led the company’s board and management team to make the decision. The company is in negotiations to sell its operating assets to a strategic partner.

Two Patriot Coal Miners Killed

May 13, 2014
(Flickr/Paul Sableman)

Patriot Coal, headquartered in Creve Coeur, confirmed Tuesday that two of its miners in West Virginia were killed in a "severe coal burst."

Eric Legg, 48, and Gary Hensley, 46, were working in Brody Mine No. 1, about 50 miles south of Charleston, W.VA., when the accident occurred just after 8:45 p.m. Monday.

"We express our deepest sympathies to Eric's and Gary's families, friends and co-workers," said Mike Day, Patriot executive vice president of operations.  "We are fully cooperating with state and federal mine regulatory agencies to investigate this incident."

Flickr/Paul Sableman

St. Louis-based Patriot Coal announced Tuesday that a federal bankruptcy judge has approved the company’s reorganization plan, clearing the way to come out of bankruptcy.

Patriot officials said the company will close on its exit financing and emerge from Chapter 11 Wednesday.

The company filed for bankruptcy in July, 2012. At the time, Patriot cited a low demand for coal and big costs for retiree benefits.

(Maria Altman/St. Louis Public Radio)

The nearly monthly rallies by retired miners in front of Peabody Energy’s headquarters in downtown St. Louis are now a thing of the past.

The United Mine Workers of America, Peabody Energy, and Patriot Coal announced a settlement late Tuesday night.

The UMWA had been pushing Peabody through its rallies and a lawsuit filed in Charleston to pay for retirees’ health benefits after its spin-off, Patriot Coal, filed for bankruptcy last year.

Patriot had largely shed its $1.6 billion liability in healthcare benefits for about 23,000 retired miners and their dependents.

(UPI)

Peabody Energy will have to pay health benefits for retirees of a former subsidiary after an appeals court reversed a federal bankruptcy judge’s decision.

The ruling Wednesday from the three-judge US Court of Appeals bankruptcy panel affects 3,100 retirees attached to Heritage Coal.

Peabody had earlier agreed to continue paying retiree health benefits when Heritage was spun off along with Patriot in 2007.

Maria Altman / St. Louis Public Radio

A federal bankruptcy judge approved a new labor agreement Tuesday between St. Louis-based Patriot Coal and the United Mine Workers of America.

Judge Kathy Surratt-States granted Patriot’s request for a new collective bargaining agreement.

About 1,800 UMWA members voted in favor of the agreement Friday, which would restore most of the wage cuts that Patriot had previously sought.

It also would put a VEBA, or Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association, in place of the current health benefits that about 10,000 retired miners currently have.

Adam Allington / St. Louis Public Radio

 Members of the United Mine Workers of America have voted to ratify a settlement with bankrupt Patriot Coal.

The union said in a statement Friday night that current or laid-off Patriot workers in West Virginia and Kentucky voted 85 percent to 15 percent in favor of the agreement reached late last week.

Some 1,800 members from 13 locals were voting.

Patriot said it wants the company to survive, and union President Cecil Roberts had said the deal may let that happen.

UMWA Back In St. Louis

Aug 13, 2013
Maria Altman / St. Louis Public Radio

Members of The United Mine Workers of America were in St. Louis again Tuesday, rallying over miners’ retiree benefits.

The protest took place just one day after the union reached a tentative agreement with Patriot Coal.

But officials were turning their attention back to Peabody, which created the now bankrupt Patriot in 2007.

UMWA officials, including secretary treasurer Dan Kane, repeated at the rally in front of Peabody’s headquarters that the corporation is still responsible to its former employees.

(via Arch Coal)

A fight over retiree health benefits landed in front of Arch Coal’s Creve Coeur headquarters Tuesday morning.

The United Mine Workers of America union argues Arch and Peabody Energy both bear responsibility for 10,000 miners’ health benefits jeopardized in another company’s bankruptcy.

St. Louis-based Patriot Coal was spun off from Peabody in 2007 and then bought a former Arch subsidiary in 2008.

The UMWA has filed suit against both Peabody and Arch in West Virginia claiming they purposely shed liabilities such as retirees’ health benefits.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

More than a thousand United Mine Workers of America members were back in St. Louis on Monday, the latest in a series of protests against Peabody Energy and its handling of their  retirement and health care benefits.

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio.

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.

(Adam Allington/St. Louis Public Radio)

The United Mine Workers of America say negotiators from St. Louis-based Patriot Coal walked out of talks Tuesday setting the stage for a possible strike.

The bankrupt company and the union were trying to come to an agreement even after a federal judge ruled in favor of a plan Patriot put forward to reduce costs.

UMWA spokesman Phil Smith says Patriot will now put that plan in effect July 1, including wage cuts for active miners and changes to health benefits for 23,000 retired miners and their families.

(Maria Altman/St. Louis Public Radio)

A federal bankruptcy judge granted a motion Wednesday allowing St. Louis-based Patriot Coal to make major changes to retirees’ health benefits.

Patriot estimated it had more than $1.6 billion in health liabilities for some 23,000 retired miners and their families.

The company said it could not emerge from bankruptcy with those obligations and is instead offering the United Mine Workers of America a 35 percent stake in a new company, as well as a healthcare trust fund for retirees.

(Maria Altman/St. Louis Public Radio)

A motion by Patriot Coal to cut health benefits for 10,000 retired miners was heard Monday in a federal bankruptcy court in St. Louis.

More than 1,500 protesters, many with the United Mine Workers of America, rallied in downtown to draw attention to the case.

The UMWA is angry with Patriot for asking a federal bankruptcy judge to allow it to shed about $1.6 billion in liabilities.

But they also direct their anger at Peabody Energy, which spun off Patriot in 2007.

Sean Sandefur/ St. Louis Public Radio

Hundreds of retired and current union miners from across the country descended on St. Louis on Tuesday to protest Peabody Energy and the potential loss of their pension plans.

Most of the miners worked for either Peabody Energy or Arch Coal, but their benefits are threatened by the bankruptcy of Patriot Coal last year. Patriot was spun off from Peabody in 2007, along with the healthcare obligations of many Peabody and Arch Coal employees.

(Maria Altman/St. Louis Public Radio)

Our Maria Altman had a story on NPR's Morning Edition this morning about the many effects of Patriot Coal's bankruptcy. In fact, the story continues, with another rally in St. Louis today.

To give you even more on this story, we present these photos - glimpses of the people affected by the actions of this large, St. Louis-based company. 

(Adam Allington/St. Louis Public Radio)

The president and CEO of Patriot Coal says without union concessions from current and retired miners, the company will be forced into liquidation.

Bennett Hatfield made the assertion in a commentary published Thursday in the Charleston Daily Mail. He wrote that the company's liquidation would result in the loss of thousands of jobs and have a devastating impact on workers, their families, retirees and their communities.

(Adam Allington/St. Louis Public Radio)

Police are warning motorists of traffic congestion and diversions Monday as the United Mine Workers of America protests Patriot Coal's bankruptcy reorganization plan in West Virginia.

Some 5,000 participants are expected to begin arriving at the Civic Center in Charleston around 9 a.m. The UMWA says people from southern West Virginia will drive in, and 50 buses are carrying people from seven states.

Participants will rally at 11:30 a.m. at Laidley Tower, where Patriot's West Virginia offices are located.

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio.

On Monday, the top official with a national miners' union says bankrupt Patriot Coal's bid to cut retiree health care benefits, while seeking millions of dollars for executive bonuses, is immoral.

Patriot Coal spun off from St. Louis-based Peabody in 2007, taking with it an enormous amount of the larger company’s health care obligations. Now that Patriot has declared bankruptcy, the company is looking to cut health care coverage for retired miners.

At a press conference in St. Louis, United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts said Patriot was designed to fail.

(Adam Allington/St. Louis Public Radio)

St. Louis-based Patriot Coal Corp. has asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to modify collective bargaining agreements with the United Mine Workers of America, allowing the coal company to cut health care coverage for retired miners.

Patriot was created by St. Louis-Based Peabody Energy Corp., as a stand-alone company in 2007.  In creating Patriot, Peabody also transferred a hefty chunk of Peabody’s outstanding pension obligations onto Patriot’s books.

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