Updated Tue, Jan 29, 2013 9:45 am
About 175 West Virginia coal mining families are picketing in St. Louis as the United Mine Workers of America tries to salvage health care benefits for retirees and widows from Patriot Coal's bankruptcy.
Miners from Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio are also planning to join the protest Tuesday outside the federal building and the headquarters of one company the union blames for the bankruptcy, Peabody Energy.
The bankruptcy affects more than 10,000 retirees and 10,000 dependents, mostly in those states.
Patriot calls its pension and health care programs unsustainable legacies.
A judge moved Patriot's case to St. Louis in November. An $802 million financing package is letting it continue operating while it restructures.
The UMWA posted billboard and TV ads ahead of the hearing.