ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - Thousands of union mine workers and their families, along with labor, consumer and faith leaders rallied in downtown St. Louis ahead of arguments in a bankruptcy case.
St. Louis police said they arrested 16 people during the protest for failure to obey the reasonable order of an officer.
PHOTOS: Mine workers rally arrests
A federal judge will begin hearing arguments in the Patriot Coal bankruptcy case Monday afternoon. The judge is considering the company's request to modify its contract with Union Mine Workers of America and significantly cut the health care and pension benefits.
St. Louis-based Patriot Coal Corp filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last summer.
Patriot was spun off from Peabody Energy Corp. in 2007. Patriot hit hard times in recent years, with the company citing exceptionally soft coal markets, rising costs and "unsustainable legacy liabilities" tied to the spinoff.
The union says Patriot was set up to fail in a deliberate plan to end benefit obligations to retirees. Patriot and Peabody deny that claim.
Peabody Energy released a statement ahead of the arguments:
"The union continues to grandstand when it knows that this matter will be decided in the courts.
"Patriot was highly successful following its launch more than five years ago with significant assets, low debt and a market value that more than quadrupled in less than a year.
"Peabody has lived up to its obligations and continues to do so. This is a matter between the union and Patriot Coal, and will be decided in the bankruptcy court."