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10 protestors arrested at Arch Coal demonstration

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CREVE COEUR, MO (KTVI) – Union mine workers and their supporters converged on the Arch Coal headquarters Tuesday morning in Creve Coeur.

An estimated 1,000 people turned out to protest against Arch.

Ten people were arrested in a peaceful demonstration.

The United Mine Workers of America, which organized the protest, says Arch is part of a fraudulent scheme that includes the now bankrupt Patriot Coal, a spin-off of St. Louis-based Peabody Energy.

The union contends companies including Arch put the health care benefits of many retired coal miners at risk by creating companies like Patriot that fail and can’t pay benefits.

“We’re fighting for our survival. I mean that’s what it’s coming down to,” said retired miner, Rick Ryan, 56, from West Virginia.

He added, “I worked 35 years with the promise of retiree health care to cradle to grave.”

Arch Coal spokeswoman Kim Link calls the demonstration 'misdirected.'

Link says Arch sold subsidiary companies to a well-financed Boston group and had nothing to do with Patriot Coal’s involvement.

She issued a statement reading in part, “Today’s rally is an attempt to misinform the public about the history of those transactions and to influence negotiations that have nothing to do with Arch.”

About 150 striking fast food workers turned out to support the miners.

People from states including West Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama and Illinois were brought in on 31 buses.

There was a heavy police presence, including the county police SWAT team and officers from some 15 municipalities.

Everything was peaceful. The arrests were even coordinated between the miners union and authorities.

The ten people arrested are facing a municipal ordinance violation for obstructing the roadway.