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More Than 30 People Arrested During UMWA Rally in Marion County
Written by Andrew Forgotch
Last updated on July 09, 2013 @ 7:09PM
Created on July 09, 2013 @ 6:08PM

Rain couldn't stop thousands of miners, and their families, from rallying in the United Miner Workers Association fight against Patriot, Arch, and Peabody Coal.

The UMWA has been on a campaign against Patriot Coal since the company filed for bankruptcy. The move threatens to slash benefits for thousands of current and retired workers.

"They cut $34-thousand a year from me," James Abruzzino, who has worked for Patriot Coal for 23 years said. "I can't retire now because I don't know if ill have insurance when I retire."

Abruzzino was one of the miners on hand during Tuesday's rally at Fairmont State University.

"There's no retirement no without medical coverage," Abruzzino said. "You just have to have it."

UMWA officials claim Peabody and Arch administrators designed Patriot to fail. The UMWA brought about 25 bus loads of people to join their cause.

"I'm trying to help the young boys who are still working," Donald Brown, who came from Illinois, said. "If they take theirs we're next."

The rally lasted about two hours.

The final speaker was UWMA President, Cecil Roberts.

Shortly after Roberts was done a fiery speech, he along with 30 others, were placed into handcuffs and taken away.

The arrests have become common place at the UMWA rallies.

Before Roberts was arrested he mentioned Tuesday's rally wasn't the last one folks will see.

"At the end of the day were going to prevail because we have too much solidarity and unity," he said. "(It's) not only amongst the unions in West Virginia, but (it's with) the ones across the nation."

Peabody officials also released the following statement after Tuesday's rally:

"The UMWA and college assistant professor Bruce Rader have recently made false claims about Peabody's action in spinning off Patriot Coal more than five years ago and have publicized an intellectually dishonest calculation of Patriot's assets and liabilities at the time of the company's launch.  Rader's analysis is a deeply flawed, apples-to-oranges comparison that is wrong on both methodology and conclusion.

Rader's assertion that Patriot's spin-off reduced Peabody's liabilities by 40% is simply wrong, as reflected in Peabody's public filings at the time which show that Peabody retained 86% of total liabilities following the spin-off. One would also hope that a finance professor would understand Patriot's assets were reflected at historical costs, while liabilities were reflected at fair value, yet Rader fails to make this distinction in his report.

Patriot was spun off as a viable entity, as demonstrated by the fact that its value in the public equity market reached $4.6 billion just 10 months after the company was launched.

Rader writes that Patriot's losses in the first half of 2012 led to Patriot's bankruptcy filing and that a substantial portion of that loss was attributable to increased obligations relating to selenium water treatment. Rader conveniently ignores the fact that significant selenium water treatment obligations related to assets that Patriot acquired well after the spinoff and therefore had nothing to do with Peabody. This exemplifies a fundamental lack of attention to detail that is evident through Rader's report, undermining his credibility as a qualified source on Patriot's history and performance."


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