Bankrupt Patriot Coal asks judge to change retiree benefits

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Patriot Coal wants a bankruptcy judge’s permission to reject the company’s collective bargaining agreement with union miners and change retirees’ health care benefits.

Patriot made the request last week in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court filing in Richmond.

Patriot wrote that it would otherwise run out of cash and have to liquidate in a matter of weeks.

Patriot said the move would be necessary to close on a proposed partial sale to Lexington, Kentucky-based Blackhawk Mining LLC.

Otherwise, the United Mine Workers of America would need to reach collective bargaining terms with Blackhawk, which doesn’t want to contribute to the pension plan.

Patriot wrote that discussions with the UMWA and Blackhawk are at an impasse.

In a June filing, the UMWA wrote that Patriot was further attempting to strip retiree benefits.


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