Restore Health Benefits to Retired Coal Miners

Target: Judge Kathy A. Surratt-States

Goal: Deliver financial and medical benefits to retired miners formerly employed by a company that went bankrupt

Five years ago the Peabody Energy Corporation, a coal-mining conglomerate, converted itself into a new company called the Patriot Coal Corporation. Another coal-mining giant, Arch Coal Incorporated, bequeathed all of its mines to Patriot. As a company, Patriot had three times as many retirees than employees, all of whom were dependent on Patriot for benefits. Five years after the birth of the company, it failed. Patriot declared bankruptcy over the summer of 2012 and now is attempting to undergo a big-business favoring reconfiguration. The problem is, if the judge rules in the company management’s favor, Patriot comes out the other side free of its obligations regarding the pensions and medical care of its former employees.

Coal mining is notably one of the most physically taxing jobs one can undertake. From the daily risks of structure failure, to the long-term effects of inhaling toxic coal dust day-in and day-out, the dangers to a coal miner are common, life-threatening realities. It would seem obvious that miners require forms of security provided by the company they work for, this being such a dangerous job.

The Patriot Coal Corporation essentially destroyed itself. As described by Bill Mckibben, “This company was designed to fail.” Now that the company’s management so obtusely tanked the company, with no thought for the thousands of employees relying upon them, they are trying to default on all the financial obligations that they owe to these employees. Patriot is seeking to have its company back, the one so deliberately mismanaged; and they want it back clean and new, stripped of all its responsibility. This is both void of compassion and common sense.

Like always, the managers are not the ones who took the hit. “Patriot is doing nothing to hide its fat-cat heart. Its bankruptcy advisers billed $2,635 for a single dinner; the company is even now seeking court permission to hand out $6 million in bonuses to executives,” described Mckibben.

Responsibility is something we can all agree on. This is a matter in which it is paramount that the company realizes its faults and pay its reparations. Please urge Judge Kathy A. Surratt-States to realize that Patriot must own up to its failures.

Sign below to let Judge Surratt-States know that she needs to rule against the desires of the Patriot management, and that they can only reorganize their company while tethered to the fulfillment of the obligations they have towards their employees and retirees.


Dear Judge Surratt-States,

The Patriot Coal Corporation was a business that was constructed to fail. Its managers made unwise, irresponsible decisions that led to their bankruptcy. They are at fault, and of course they are not the ones suffering from their mistakes. The thousands of miners that are reliant on this company for financial and medical security are the ones who are greatly affected by the tanking of the company.

If this company is to restructure itself, it must not be freed from its obligations. These miners and retirees are owed what they were promised, and their situation must be rectified.


[Your Name Here]

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One Comment

  1. J Davidson says:

    These workers have provided the necessities, comforts and luxuries of living to our population, which includes the officers and management of this company. It is totally inhumane not to pay the more than deserved benefits to those who have sacrificed their lives and their comfort.

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