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Near the scene of the miners’ protest in Harlan Co., KY.

Paychecks Cut For Some Blackjewel Miners; Others Still Wait

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West Virginia employees of coal operator Blackjewel LLC have received their final paychecks more than two months after the company declared bankruptcy on July 1. In an agreement reached last week between the Department of Labor and the company, Blackjewel cut paper checks for all owed wages to a few dozen employees working at the… Read More

Official: Kentucky Cabinet Fails to Secure Coal Worker Bonds

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The state’s Labor Cabinet hasn’t secured the necessary bonds from coal companies that would cover wage payments to miners if their employer unexpectedly shuts down, Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear said. Beshear, a Democrat running for governor, announced on Thursday that his office examined records of Kentucky companies that should be… Read More

“Bloody Harlan” Revisited: Blackjewel Miners Draw On Labor History While Facing Uncertain Future

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Curtis Cress sat in the gravel beside a railroad track in Harlan County, Kentucky. Tall and thin with a long, black beard, Cress is every bit a coal miner, or, he was until a month ago. “It’s part of my heritage, you know? My dad and papaws had always done it,” he said. “And I’m… Read More

Protesting Blackjewel Miners To Get Some Overdue Pay From Bankruptcy Sale

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More than a thousand coal miners left unpaid by the abrupt bankruptcy of Blackjewel mining could soon be getting some – but not all – of the money they are owed. Dozens of miners have staged a week-long protest on railroad tracks in Kentucky’s Harlan County, blocking delivery of a load of coal from a Blackjewel mine… Read More

Few Answers For Unpaid Miners After Day One of Blackjewel Sales Hearing

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Blackjewel coal miners will have to wait at least another day to learn if the sale of the bankrupt coal company’s mines and equipment will deliver their overdue paychecks. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of West Virginia recessed Monday after an all-day hearing that yielded few results. The court is scheduled to… Read More

Blackjewel Miners Continue Protest As Bankruptcy Hearing Looms

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Miners left unpaid by the bankrupt Blackjewel coal company say they are prepared to keep up their protest on railroad tracks in Harlan County, Kentucky, where they are blocking delivery of a load of coal. As their protest grows and gains attention, a bankruptcy court hearing on Monday could determine whether and when the miners… Read More

Piles of coal

Auction Set for Bankrupt Coal Producer Blackjewel’s Assets

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — An auction is set for the assets of bankrupt coal operator Blackjewel LLC. A notice filed in federal bankruptcy court in West Virginia said the auction was scheduled for Thursday morning at the Cincinnati law office of attorneys representing Blackjewel. Bristol, Tennessee-based Contura Energy last week offered $20.6 million as the stalking… Read More

Blackjewel Miners Block Railroad To Demand Pay From Bankrupt Coal Company

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Some coal miners left without pay by the bankruptcy of coal company Blackjewel LLC are protesting by blocking a coal train in eastern Kentucky. The stand-off began early Monday when five miners blocked the train from leaving the Cumberland, Kentucky, plant. Despite police asking them to leave, miners spent the night blocking the railroad to… Read More

Piles of coal

Hearing on Bidding Process for Coal Operator Continued

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — A federal hearing adjourned Thursday without a decision on a bidding process proposed for mines owned by a bankrupt West Virginia-based coal company. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Frank Volk told the parties in federal court in Huntington the emergency hearing would resume Friday morning in Charleston. Volk heard nearly two hours of… Read More

Laid-Off Employees Of Bankrupt Blackjewel Mining Seek Pay, Answers

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Patrick Fitchpatrick has worked at Blackjewel’s D-11 coal mine in Cumberland, Kentucky, for more than a year. He said he enjoyed the work right up until he was told not to come in last Monday. “Everything was smooth sailing and then one day it just all goes to hell,” he said. The country’s sixth-largest coal… Read More