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ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - The future of Patriot Coal takes center stage in a St. Louis courtroom Tuesday.

A federal bankruptcy judge is considering the company's request to modify its contract with Union Mine Workers of America and terminate the benefits of its non-union retirees, according to the St. Louis Business Journal.

The hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m.

The debate has triggered a wave of protests in recent months.

Patriot Coal said cuts to health care benefits and labor costs would save 4,000 jobs.

The mine worker's union accuses Peabody Energy of setting up Patriot Coal to fail when the company spun-off in 2007.

Peabody Energy denies those claims.