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Victoria Babu

Victoria Babu

Hundreds of protesting coal miners have returned to downtown St. Louis for a third time this year.They were marching from Peabody headquarters to U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Patriot Coal Corp. has asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to modify collective bargaining agreements with the United Mine Workers of America, allowing the coal company to cut health care coverage for retired miners.

St. Louis-based Patriot said in the filing the action is necessary to save more than 4,000 jobs. Patriot also seeks to change wages, benefits and work rules for existing workers in an effort to make the company more competitive.

Union leaders have been anticipating the move for some time, holding protests in St. Louis last month that drew more than 1,000 people. UMWA President Cecil Roberts says the loss of benefits would cause financial ruin and threaten the health for thousands of retirees.
An ambulance stolen outside Barnes Jewish Hospital in the Central West End has been found in East St Louis.

St. Louis police say around 3:00 a.m. Monday morning a MedStar ambulance was taken from the parking bay outside Barnes Jewish hospital, possibly by a woman.

Few details have been released, although police and MedStar officials say the ambulance was found near 15th and College streets in East St. Louis just before six this (Monday) morning.

A quick search reveals no damage to the vehicle, the keys were left inside and nothing appeared to be taken.
Hearings are set for this week in the St. Louis firefighters' pension reform battle.

Early last year, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay had proposed replacing the current Firemen's Retirement System with a less-expensive pension system. The Board of Aldermen passed the plan, but the board that oversees the pension system sued to stop the city from implementing it.

The new system would cut costs by trimming disability payments and making pension administrators civil servants, among other things. City officials say that's necessary because the pay and benefits that the four-person administrative staff receives right now are far more than those of other city pension administrators.

The F-R-S needed a 20-million dollar infusion from the city coffers last year in order to cover expenses. Slay says the city can't keep that up for long.

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