Quillen told Reuters this week that eliminating health benefits for more than 4,500 workers and dependents “goes against the values the company was built upon.”

Quillen established Alpha in 2002. He stepped down from his chairman position in 2012.

We made a pledge to our employees to provide a safe place to work and benefits that would extend beyond their years of employment,” he said. “It’s imperative for the company to honor that pledge.”

The former executive, along with several other former officials, have reportedly entered court filings requesting the formation of a committee to represent retirees during Alpha’s Chapter 11 reorganization. Alpha first filed its voluntary petition with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Virginia in August.

Eliminating benefits could save the Virginia-based miner more than $125 million, the Reuters report noted; in addition to health benefits, life insurance would also be lost. Alpha had already filed its own request asking for benefits to be dropped at the end of the year.