FRANKFORT, Ky. (WYMT) - Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear joined Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring to ask for "immediate payment" of all Blackjewel employees' wages.
The joint request was sent to the Office of the United States Trustee. About 600 Kentucky workers and 480 Virginia workers did not get paid after Blackjewel filed for bankruptcy at the beginning of the month.
“The failure of Blackjewel to prepare for bankruptcy has created unnecessary chaos for our miners and their families – the uncertainty they have had to face is wrong and it must end,” Beshear said. “My office is using all our powers to seek answers to the complaints we have received regarding clawed back paychecks, bounced checks and child support issues. Now, we are taking action and urging immediate payment to our miners. No Kentuckian should be treated this way for putting in an honest day’s work.”
“It is absolutely outrageous that hundreds of Virginia workers are being forced to overdraft their bank accounts and scramble to make ends meet because Blackjewel couldn’t get its act together,” said Attorney General Herring. “Even more egregious than the missed paychecks are the reports that some employees actually had their wages taken back out after the money had shown up in their accounts. These workers deserve the wages they earned and I’m going to use every tool at my disposal to make sure they get paid. The company should also take care of any negative consequences caused by their recklessness, like overdrafts or late fees.”
The attorneys blame Blackjewel's actions for causing workers to mistakenly overdraw their bank accounts. They also said the impact on the employees has rippled through local and regional economies.