Sep 26, 2013
The Fight for Fairness at Patriot Continues
The rallies and arrests continue.
On Tuesday, workers once again demonstrated outside Peabody Energy's headquarters against the company's prolonged refusal to pay health care benefits promised to retired UMWA miners, their widows and dependents. Police arrested 15 activists after a spirited march that blocked traffic in downtown St. Louis.
"We understand clearly that it's your fight today, it could be our fight tomorrow," said District 6 Vice President Claude Cummings. "We're going to stand and fight back!"
Watch a video of Cummings firing up the 5,000-person crowd here.
Peabody, the world's largest private-sector coal company, reported $90 million in net income in the second quarter of 2013. But when Peabody executives spun off Patriot Coal in 2007, they did not provide the new firm with sufficient assets to meet its obligations to retired workers and their dependents. Last year, Patriot Coal filed for bankruptcy, and through bankruptcy court, has drastically reduced health benefits for retired workers, along with severe cuts in pay, benefits and working conditions for active workers.
District 6 Vice President Claude Cummings marches through downtown St. Louis.
Below: Missouri CWAers rally outside of Peabody Energy.
Iowa State Council Training
The Iowa State Council sponsored a training on movement building, LPAT infrastructure and developing political goals. Participants included members of CWA Locals 7176, 7181, 7172, 7101, 7102 and 7171. CWA Legislative Director Shane Larson and Political Director Rafael Navar presented and led a discussion on critical political issues and races.
To show activists what a partnership with other progressive organizations can look like, Minnesota State Council President Mona Meyer and Terin Mayer, the lead economy organizer of TakeAction Minnesota, gave a presentation on how they've come together to build a movement for social and economic justice.
Already there's been a lot of good work being done in Iowa. Activists are supporting union-friendly candidates for hospital boards to help our nurses' organizing and bargaining campaigns. And CWA is growing its partnership with Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, a grassroots organization dedicated to community organizing.
CWA local activists from across the state attend the Iowa State Council's training on movement building.