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“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

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

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

Coal Miners Back in Washington Fighting for Benefits

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United Mine Workers and supporters were on Capitol Hill Wednesday in an effort to shore up their pension and health benefits. More than 43,000 coal miners in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia are growing anxious about losing their retirement benefits. The coal miner’s union says its pension fund will be insolvent in three years if Congress doesn’t… Read More

As Disabled Miners Hit D.C., Lawmakers Introduce Bills To Fund Black Lung Benefits

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Democratic members of Congress introduced legislation Tuesday to provide additional funding for coal miners suffering from black lung. The bills came as a contingent of Appalachian miners afflicted with the disease lobbied lawmakers for more support. “It doesn’t only take your health. It takes your identity,” Barry Johnson said of the disease. Johnson is a… 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

Retired Miners Make One More Push For Pension Protection On Capitol Hill

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Retired coal miners joined lawmakers from the Ohio Valley on Capitol Hill Wednesday for another attempt to protect miners’ pensions. Pensions are at risk because of a downturn in the coal market, the lingering effects of the 2008 recession, and coal company bankruptcies which have all reduced the amounts companies paid into a shared, or multiemployer, pension… Read More

Retired Miners Rally Over Pensions in Washington

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – Dozens of retired coal miners visited lawmakers in Washington to call for legislative action to preserve the pensions of about 87,000 retirees and another 20,000 working miners. United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts says the 2008 recession and mining company bankruptcies have endangered the miner’s pension plan, established in… Read More