Retired miners worry about their pensions
BALDWIN, Ill. - A major player in the coal industry has filed for bankruptcy. Now, miners in our area are worried that money promised to them by the government will be cut.
Protesters held a rally on Monday at the Thomas Eagleton Federal Building in St. Louis.
About 2,000 people came to show support for miners, both retired and working, that may be out money because Patriot Coal Corporation has filed bankruptcy.
The former parent company of Patriot is a spinoff from the Peabody Energy Corporation, and they have mines all across Southern Illinois.
Through pictures and memories Bill Piller remembered his first day on the job.
"Well, I'd never been under ground in a coal mine," said Piller.
The first time stuck and he went on to work in the mines of Southern Illinois for 21 years.
"February the 6th 1972 to December 23rd of 1993," said Piller.
His cancer stopped him from working, but his pictures are daily reminders of the sacrifices he made to provide for his family.
Piller has a photo commemorating the day the mines were handed over to the government. It is the day his retirement was secured.
He was promised healthcare.
"From crib to grave," said Piller.
But he, like many retired miners, says he feels lied to by an industry that became his life's work.
"Devastation. In one word to describe it, it's devastation," said Piller.