Thousands of Miners Protest Patriot Bankruptcy

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HENDERSON, Ky. (AP) -- Hundreds of coal miners are rallying in western Kentucky over planned cuts to wages and benefits by Patriot Coal Corp. for union members.

The Tuesday protest by the United Mine Workers of America outside the Henderson County Courthouse ended with the arrests of about a dozen union members who briefly demonstrated in the street.

Patriot, a spinoff of St. Louis-based Peabody Coal, is seeking to cut worker and retiree benefits as part of a bankruptcy filing.

Kentucky Sen. Jerry Rhoads, a Democrat from Madisonville who attended the rally, said the proposed benefit cuts for union workers "is a matter of life and death."

Last week a federal judge ruled in favor of Peabody, giving the go-ahead to significantly cut health care and pension benefits to thousands of workers and retirees.

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