UPDATE 1-Bankrupt Patriot Coal issues new notice for its workers

Tue Oct 6, 2015 8:00pm EDT
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Oct 6 (Reuters) - Bankrupt miner Patriot Coal Corp , which is in the midst of auctioning off its assets, has issued a new WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act) notice to its employees.

The WARN notice is mandated by U.S. labor law and requires companies with 100 or more employees to provide 60 days advance notification of plant closings and mass layoffs.

Patriot Coal expects to lay off more than 2,000 workers in West Virginia, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

The new WARN notice from Patriot Coal extended the period from the original WARN notice issued on Aug. 3, 2015, because of a delay in Patriot's bankruptcy case.

The Scott Depot, West Virginia-based miner, which went bankrupt in May less than 18 months after emerging from Chapter 11, plans to sell a substantial majority of its assets to Blackhawk Mining LLC and the Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund (VCLF). With the delay in the bankruptcy case, the closing date of the transaction has been pushed back from Oct. 9 to Oct. 23, 2015.

Patriot said it expects a majority of Patriot employees at its mining operations will be offered employment if the sale is completed.

Last month, the company asked a U.S. judge to allow it to end its obligations towards 969 non-union retirees, saying no potential buyer of its assets would agree to take on the cost.

Patriot has also asked the judge to allow it to reject its collective bargaining agreement with the United Mine Workers of America, which has been negotiating with Blackhawk to maintain some benefits.

The case is Patriot Coal Corp, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Virginia, No. 15-32450. (Reporting by Rachel Chitra in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Wills)