UPDATE: Thousands of miners rally in Charleston, 16 arrested - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Thousands of miners rally in Charleston, 16 arrested


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Sixteen people have been arrested during a protest of Patriot Coal Corp.'s bankruptcy reorganization plan in downtown Charleston.

The arrests occurred on the outside steps leading to Patriot Coal's West Virginia offices at Laidley Tower. UMW President Cecil Roberts was among those arrested after the group refused a police order to move.

Thousands of people attended a union rally and heard from Roberts, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and other speakers at the Charleston Civic Center before walking to Laidley Tower.

The House of Delegates and state Senate have adopted resolutions called for bankrupt Patriot Coal to honor its pension and benefit commitments to some 23,000 retired miners and their dependents.

St. Louis-based Patriot is trying shed some of that $1.6 billion liability as it restructures.


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- The United Mine Workers of America is bringing as many as 5,000 people to Charleston to protest Monday outside the West Virginia offices of bankrupt Patriot Coal Corp.

Police are warning motorists of traffic congestion and diversions. Some 5,000 participants are expected to begin arriving at the Civic Center around 9 a.m. The UMWA says people from southern West Virginia will drive in, and 50 buses are carrying people from seven states -- Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia

The union has staged multiple protests in St. Louis and is running ads pressuring Patriot to abandon plans to shed some of its pension and benefit liabilities.

Some 23,000 retired miners and their dependents are affected.

UMWA spokesman Phil Smith says miners from southern West Virginia will drive to the Civic Center for a rally then march to Laidley Tower for another.

Patriot wants to modify its collective bargaining agreement and create a trust fund for retiree health care benefits.

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