The Times West Virginian

West Virginia

March 27, 2013

UMW plans huge Patriot rally in Charleston on Monday

CHARLESTON — The United Mine Workers of America is planning to bring at least 50 buses and some 5,000 people to West Virginia’s capital next week to protest outside the state offices of bankrupt Patriot Coal Corp.

The union has staged multiple protests in St. Louis, resulting in a few dozen arrests, and is running an ad campaign aimed at pressuring Patriot to abandon plans for shedding a $1.6 billion liability for pensions and health care benefits.

Some 23,000 retired miners and their families would be affected by that plan.

Miners from southern West Virginia will drive to the Civic Center for a rally there Monday morning, UMW spokesman Phil Smith said. The participants will then march through downtown Charleston to Laidley Tower.

Participants are coming from six other states as well — Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia.

Besides UMW President Cecil Roberts, the featured speakers are likely to include U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, Rep. Nick Rahall and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

Earlier this week, the West Virginia House of Delegates joined U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller and others calling for St. Louis-based Patriot to honor its pension and benefit commitments.

Patriot, which filed for bankruptcy in July 2012, said earlier this month that it wants to modify its collective bargaining agreement and create a trust fund for retiree health care benefits. Patriot contends the move is needed to save 4,000 existing jobs.

Union leaders say Peabody Energy and Arch Coal spun off assets and set up Patriot to fail in a deliberate plan to end benefit obligations to union retirees.

Peabody denies that, saying it’s the victim of “unforeseen events” including the global financial crisis, new environmental regulations and a reduction in metallurgical coal prices.

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West Virginia
  • Symptoms match with spilled chemical

    For two weeks following a January chemical spill into the public water supply, hundreds of West Virginians examined in emergency rooms had ailments consistent with exposure to the chemical, health officials said Wednesday.
    Federal toxic substance experts and the state Bureau for Public Health stopped short of saying that their analysis determined without a doubt that patients’ problems stemmed from chemical contact.

    April 24, 2014

  • West Virginia chemical safe level following spill based on two weeks

    When federal officials decided what chemical levels West Virginians could safely consume in water tainted by a January spill, their standard assumed people would be exposed for two weeks, not 100-plus days.

    April 23, 2014

  • Some state Democrats flip to GOP

    As Republicans rally for more control in West Virginia’s long-time Democratic Legislature, a few Democrats have jumped ship to the GOP and are challenging former colleagues in midterm races.
    Republicans face their biggest election opportunity in decades in the House of Delegates, where a four-seat swing would put them in power for the first time in 85 years.

    April 20, 2014

  • Gee’s move could save Ohio State millions

    Ohio State University expects to save millions of dollars because former president Gordon Gee is giving up part of his retirement package as he becomes president of West Virginia University for the second time.

    April 19, 2014

  • W.Va. AG court filings: Dismiss gun law question

    The attorney general says a court challenge should be dismissed over whether West Virginians can bring guns to city recreational facilities that hold school events.
    Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s filings Thursday argue the city of Charleston shouldn’t receive court guidance on how to implement a state gun law.

    April 18, 2014

  • Energy-state Dems split from Obama

    Scrapping to keep a West Virginia Senate seat Democratic in a state that’s sprinted to the right, Natalie Tennant is counting on her allegiance to the coal industry to separate herself from an unpopular President Barack Obama.
    Her approach reflects common Democratic strategy and tactics this midterm election year in energy-producing states that lean Republican: Sen. Mary Landrieu is vying for a fourth term representing Louisiana; Alaska Sen. Mark Begich is running for re-election for the first time; and Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes wants to replace Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

    April 17, 2014

  • Official: $2M in chemical spill costs reimbursable

    Public agencies and nonprofits that helped after a Jan. 9 chemical leak into the water supply could receive $2 million in reimbursements for their emergency work, a West Virginia homeland security official said.
    Federal and state emergency officials briefed fire departments, paramedics and other government groups Wednesday on how to recoup costs.

    April 17, 2014

  • Manchin urges mines to speak out for coal

    The Democratic senator leading the battle against the White House’s strategy to fight climate change urged the mining industry on Tuesday to speak out about coal’s role in providing affordable, reliable electricity to the country to help combat strict new emissions rules for coal-fired power plants.

    April 16, 2014

  • Many schools already meet new mandate for breakfast

    Many West Virginia public schools have changed the way they serve breakfast to students ahead of a requirement that goes into effect in September.

    April 14, 2014

  • W.Va. grower promotes unmodified feed corn

    Lyle Tabb is hoping that his non-genetically modified corn will take off with farmers who can charge top dollar for “all natural” eggs.
    Genetically modified or GMO corn has greatly simplified the process of getting rid of weeds, but has also substantially increased the amount of a chemical call glyphosate.

    April 13, 2014

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