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UMWA Workers Continue Protests Against Peabody Coal

More than 1,000 United Mine Workers of America members were back in St. Louis Monday, the latest in a series of protests against Peabody Coal and its handling of their retirement and health care benefits.

St. Louis-based Peabody Coal spun off Patriot in 2007, and made it financially responsible for most retiree benefits. The rally is the first since a bankruptcy judge ruled last month that Patriot can impose sharp cuts in those benefits to get the company profitable again.

UMWA secretary-treasurer Danny Kane was one of thirteen people arrested at the protest. He says the ruling simply "aggravated a sleeping giant."

"That's what you've done," says Kane. "And we resolve to right this wrong and to fight the injustice as long as it takes."

Patriot and the union remain at the negotiating table. The company can impose the benefits cuts on July 1.

Lippmann returned to her native St. Louis after spending two years covering state government in Lansing, Michigan. She earned her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and followed (though not directly) in Maria Altman's footsteps in Springfield, also earning her graduate degree in public affairs reporting. She's also done reporting stints in Detroit, Michigan and Austin, Texas. Rachel likes to fill her free time with good books, good friends, good food, and good baseball.
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