A STRIKE against the nation's No. 1 coal producer idled mines in Appalachia and the Midwest for a second day yesterday.
Industry analysts said many of the power plants supplied by the Peabody Holding Company have enough coal stockpiled to hold out for months. Some reportedly have more than a 300-day supply.
The United Mine Workers went on strike on Monday against two Peabody Holding subsidiaries in a dispute over job security. The UMW said 7,500 miners walked out in five states, including Pennsylvania. Peabody Holding said the strike was limited to 5,000 workers in four states and that it forced the shutdown of 22 mines in West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois.
The strike began after talks broke down with the Bituminous Coal Operators Association on a new contract covering more than 60,000 miners and 150,000 retirees. The association represents 12 large national producers.
The strike is limited to Peabody but could spread, UMW President Richard Trumka said.
No negotiations were scheduled.
Peabody Coal Company president George Shiflett charged that the union was trying to bully coal operators.