Kentucky Coal Miners Blocking Train Track For Weeks Over Unpaid Wages

in palnet •  last year 

The miners that have been camping out in Kentucky, that have allegedly been blocking a train track for several weeks now, suggest that they will be camping there until they get back to work or until they receive the funds that they say they are due.

They urge that the bankrupt company Blackjewel owes them unpaid wages and they've set up a railway blockade to protest over the financial disagreement. That company reportedly closed down in July and filed for bankruptcy.

There are more than 1,000 miners in Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, and Wyoming, who lost their jobs unexpectedly.

They say that they were not paid for their last week of work and that the checks they received for the two weeks prior had bounced. The tracks that they set to block were reportedly being used by Blackjewel to ship a load of coal out of the region but they took a stand to prevent the $1 million shipment.

In 2018, it's reported that coal consumption reached its lowest levels since 1979, according to the Energy Information Agency.

There are a number of coal producers that have filed for bankruptcy in the last several years as a result of the steady decline.

Now, it's reported that what might have started out as a small protest to block the tracks, has grown into a 24 hour tent city, that's attracted miners and their families, and a variety of community members and activists etc. Local restaurants have been bringing them food and they've been receiving a great deal of community support.

The group insists that this isn't political, they just want to be paid what they are owed.

In recent weeks, lawmakers from the left and right have both sent pizzas to the miners and visited those protesting at the site. But the miners admit that they aren't eager to become pawns in any political agenda.

The dispute is between the workers and their employer and they will be satisfied when they are paid.

As of this week they still haven't been paid, though it's reported that Blackjewel is busy selling off assets. A bankruptcy judge has also approved a bid by Kopper Glo to purchase the Lone Mountain and Black Mountain mines. Along with that bid, Kopper Glo pledged at least $450,000 to cover back wages of all miners regardless if they came back to work. But the amount isn't sufficient enough as it's alleged that it's only about half of what the Kentucky Blackjewel miners had lost and they are still owed more.

"We are wanting our money not just partial. We want our money. The money that's owed to us,... We are going to be here that's a fact. We are not going to move." - D. Raleigh, a Blackjewel miner

For now, they've vowed to stay on the tracks until the dispute is resolved.

pic3 via TIME

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I have not heard about this, but I do remember the Feds saying they were going to put the miners out of biz.

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