The event coincided with a bankruptcy hearing for Patriot Coal, a Peabody spinoff, in Missouri’s Eastern District. Patriot has termed retiree health care “unsustainable.” 90% of those affected never worked for Patriot, but were instead employed by Peabody and Arch Coal.

“Thousands of retirees across coalfields of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia are wondering if they will have to choose between paying the mortgage—or getting needed medications,” UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said.

More rallies are being planned, he noted. “We are here to let the bankruptcy court know that we care about what happens,” Roberts said.