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Patriot protest in W.Va. likely to draw thousands

July 4, 2013

FAIRMONT, W.Va. (AP) — The United Mine Workers of America says it’s bringing thousands of coal miners and their dependents to Fairmont in its continuing fight with bankrupt Patriot Coal over worker and retiree benefits.

President Cecil Roberts, United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard and AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt are scheduled to speak Tuesday, along with several state political leaders.

The UMWA is planning to fill at least 25 buses for the event, while others will be driving in.

Spokesman Phil Smith says people are coming from Alabama, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

They’re protesting St. Louis-based Patriot’s planned cutoff of retiree health benefits, and wage and benefit reductions for active miners.

The event gets under way at 10 a.m. on the football practice field at Fairmont State University.

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