FRANKFORT, Ky. (WYMT) - Attorney General Andy Beshear announced Tuesday that his office is dedicated to preventing what happened to Blackjewel coal miners from happening again.
After Blackjewel declared bankruptcy on July 1st, its workers' paychecks were clawed back from their banks. This caused many to be as much as $3,000 in the hole. Later, we learned that the coal company failed to post a bond with the Kentucky Labor Cabinet that would have ensured the miners' paychecks in this kind of situation.
Beshear said his office is looking into other coal companies to make sure other miners are not at risk. Currently, there is no way for the Labor Cabinet to know when a new company in the state is supposed to post a performance bond.
Kentucky law KRS 337.200 states mining companies that have been in business in Kentucky less than five years must put up a performance bond to the Labor Cabinet. This bond is to assure the payment of wages if the employer stops operating, and should be enough to cover payroll for four weeks.
"Given my concerns with the Labor Cabinet's response, I have asked my office to seek the information necessary to determine if other workers and their families could be left in the same situation," said Beshear.
The attorney general's office will review a list of companies that secured mining permits in Kentucky in the last five years. Those that are required to provide a performance bond, Beshear said he will ensure are filed.
His office is also looking into issues regarding the Blackjewel miners' clawed-back paychecks and child support deductions. Anyone with concerns related to the Blackjewel bankruptcy is asked to contact Beshear's office at 502-696-5300 and ask for Jan Velez.