NEW YORK The
United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) union has rejected a
settlement offer from Peabody Energy Corp. to pay benefits to
retired employees of bankrupt former subsidiary Patriot Coal
The money could have
been used to provide 3,100 Patriot retirees with lifetime
health-care benefits comparable to those of Peabodys
active corporate employees, the St. Louis-based company
president Cecil E. Roberts said Peabodys assertion that
it offered to settle "all claims" with the union isnt
"(Peabody Energy is)
already paying, pursuant to a court order, $20 million a year
for 3,100 workers. The offer they made to us was for $10
million a year for those same 3,100," he said. "No, thank you.
The people who issued that statement want us to sell somebody
out, but were not doing that."
settlement would have been payable over a 15-year period and
could have been used to fund the newly established Voluntary
Employee Beneficiary Association to provide health-care
benefits to retirees in the wake of Patriots bankruptcy,
according to Vic Svec, senior vice president of global investor
and corporate relations at Peabody Energy.
"The UMWA retirees who
have been traveling to St. Louis to rally for health-care
benefits have a right to know that a good faith settlement
offer was on the table and that union leadership rejected it,"
Svec said Sept. 23.
Patriot Coal filed for
Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July 2012
(amm.com, July 10, 2012. It filed a lawsuit in March
this year against Peabody to ensure that it didnt use
Patriots bankruptcy to escape its own health-care
obligations to retired employees.
In August this year,
the U.S. Bankruptcy Appellate Panel found Peabody responsible
for health-care benefits it assumed at the time of its spin-off
of Patriot Coal in 2007.
A version of this
article was first published in AMM sister publication Steel