People of faith are calling on executives from Patriot Coal to protect the healthcare benefits and pensions of retired union coal minors who worked for Peabody Energy.
Peabody Energy created the company Patriot Coal in 2007 and the company took on $1.3 billion of Peabody’s healthcare and pension obligations to retired union mineworkers.
Although Peabody is making soaring profits, Patriot Coal is filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company now is looking to terminate benefits in the union contract for more than 20,000 retired Peabody mineworkers who never worked a day at Patriot Coal.
Mineworkers have one of the most dangerous jobs in the country, and rely on the good healthcare benefits in their union contract. Patriot’s attempt to terminate those benefits is troubling for people of faith; many are working with the labor community in St. Louis (where the two companies are headquartered) and across the region to organize support and action.
Nearly faith leaders signed an open letter urging the corporation’s leaders to protect the pensions and healthcare benefits promised in the Peabody contract. Union leaders plan to deliver the signed open letter to Patriot leadership next week.