May 31, 2013
The National Consumers League issued this statement on the federal bankruptcy case against Patriot Coal:
NCL is deeply disappointed in the Court’s decision to allow Patriot Coal to eliminate retiree health care and retirement benefits. “Allowing Peabody Coal to throw workers and retirees under the bus by simply declaring bankruptcy is unfair and unjust. This unthinkable decision now gives companies the green light to offload their health care and retiree obligations to another entity that goes bankrupt,” said Sally Greenberg, Executive Director of the National Consumers League.
NCL has long been allied with the cause of American workers and has a close and abiding relationship with the UMWA. One of NCL’s early presidents, Josephine Roche, was closely associated throughout her career with legendary UMWA president John L. Lewis, and NCL honored UMWA President Cecil Roberts in 2012.
“There’s no harder or more arduous job than going down into the mines for 12 hours a day. The work results in ailments from breathing in coal dust and Black Lung disease to injuries caused by the hard labor involved in mining. It’s only fair that these miners and their families get good health care and a decent retirement plan. Courts are there to protect these basic rights. Sadly, this court failed to do that.”
The union has recently held many rallies, and NCL joined a recent protest in St. Louis aimed at Patriot’s financial problems that are directly related to corporate actions by Peabody and Arch coal companies. “NCL believes that Patriot was set up to fail when it was formed by Peabody with more liabilities than assets in 2007,” said Greenberg. "We stand with our brothers and sisters at the UMWA in supporting an appeal to U.S. District Court in a continuing quest for justice for these mine workers and their families."
About the National Consumers League
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.