Eleven United Mine Workers members on strike for more than five years were arrested today on charges of breaking into the UMW District 30 office in a protest of termination of their strike benefits.
Members of UMW Local 2492 in Phelps, near Pikeville in the coal fields of eastern Kentucky, remained outside the office afterward, continuing the protest.
The 90-member local has been striking McCoy-Caney Coal Co., now called Colonial Coal Co., near Phelps since 1984 when the company refused to sign the 1984 Bituminous Coal Operators' Assn. contract, the national contract with the UMW.
The miners received their last strike benefit check Dec. 15 and their health benefits could end within 30 days, said Hilman Dotson, president of Local 2492. Dotson was one of those charged with breaking into the UMW office early today in an attempt to bring attention to their plight. The 11 men were released after each posted $5,000 bond.