Miners from across the country marching down Market St. in downtown St. Louis on Jan. 29. They protested a Peabody Energy/Patriot Coal plan to cut pension and health care programs following Patriot's bankruptcy.
Protesters rally in front of the Peabody Energy headquarters in downtown St. Louis on April 29, 2013. They gathered to draw attention to a Patriot Coal case regarding the health care benefits of 10,000 retired miners. Peabody spun off Patriot in 2007.
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.