Media Contact: Nicole Burton
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 24, 2019) – An agreement has been reached between the United States Department of Labor, Blackjewel, LLC, and Blackjewel Marketing and Sales Holdings to pay back due wages to miners in Eastern Kentucky.
“Our Labor Cabinet has worked diligently with the Trump Administration since July to ensure that the miners affected by the Blackjewel closing are rightfully compensated,” said Gov. Bevin. “I am grateful that our perseverance has provided welcome and deserving news for the miners and their families. May we always appreciate the hard work of our coal miners, and may we always fight as hard on their behalf as they do to keep the lights on in our communities.”
Consent orders were filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky and the U. S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia guaranteeing Blackjewel, LLC miners who are owed backpay from the company will now be paid.
“Today is a great day and one we've longed to see come,” said Dan Mosley, Harlan County Judge/Executive. "The order that has been signed to pay miners the wages they're owed is the action we've all been tirelessly working toward since July. My heart is overjoyed for these hardworking folks who took a stand in a professional way to say workers shouldn't be treated this way. The Blackjewel miners, their families, and our entire community are eternally grateful to everyone that has fought alongside us to support these folks and see the day come that the miners were paid for their hard work. I'm so happy that day is here. I'm so thankful for the commitment that Secretary Dickerson and Governor Bevin made to me in early July to take this fight all the way to the White House, and get the commitment from President Trump and Vice President Pence to utilize all resources available at the U.S. Department of Labor to make sure these miners and their families were made whole again.”
The money will be paid out to 658 of Kentucky’s Blackjewel miners from the Black Mountain and Lone Mountain mines.
“This is wonderful news for the Blackjewel coal miners. All the credit belongs to Gov. Bevin who put together a team that never gave up on these miners,” Labor Cabinet Secretary David A. Dickerson said. “The Labor Cabinet, along with the U.S. Department of Labor, have worked tirelessly and persistently since July 8 to get the miners paid. This is an example of the good things that can happen when people never stop working to right a wrong.”
In early July, the Labor Cabinet Division of Wages and Hours opened an investigation into Blackjewel’s reported failure to pay employees for time worked. During the following months, the Cabinet was onsite in Harlan, Perry and Letcher counties to assist the miners and work directly with those affected to file lost wage claims.
Attorneys from the Cabinet have appeared in court to represent the interests of the miners in bankruptcy proceedings.
Following this announced agreement, the Cabinet will continue to represent the interests of the miners in ongoing court proceedings and will continue to pursue aggressive legal action against Blackjewel for its failure to secure a performance bond.