On July 1, 2019, BlackJewel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. bankruptcy court for southern West Virginia. As a result of this, a community of coal miners are currently left without pay from BlackJewel, after their bankruptcy and ¨bounced checks”, according to the Courier Journal, a local newspaper in Kentucky.
BlackJewel LLC is a Milton-based coal company and has 1,100 employees at mines in West Virginia and Kentucky.
The former miners have yet to get their last paycheck from BlackJewel and haven’t been paid the money they worked for. This sudden predicament has put the community in such a tough situation because many of the coal miners have bills to pay and families to care for. Some former miners even have to search for different careers which is not easy to do since they have worked and known BlackJewel and mining for so long.
As a highschool student, I could never imagine working so hard and not getting rewarded for my work. This community is currently left without help and deeply affected after devotion and working hard for BlackJewel for years. I stand for the protestors and believe that the coal miners have the right to their pay.
According to WFPL, a Louisville radio station, many of the community of miners way of protest was by blocking the railroad tracks to prevent shipment of coal from a BlackJewel mine. Former miner, Shane Smith, drove miles every day to work at BlackJewel’s D-21 mine in Harlan County. Smith said he gathered change to travel to this protest. Another miner, Bobby Sexton, said that he has no other choice but to protest. ‘“My family’s hungry, and I’m gonna do whatever it takes to feed them,” Sexton said, ‘”I don’t know if I’ll go home if they don’t pay us. I’ll sit here until whenever.”’
Image: Tim J Hughes via Flickr