Blackjewel coal miners fight for answers at Harlan County meeting

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Several hundred miners and their families attended the meeting in Harlan County.

"Until today we didn't know who to help," said Harlan County Judge Executive Dan Mosley. "We didn't know your name we didn't know your address we didn't know your phone number. We didn't know if you had kids going to school. We didn't know all this."

Miners were able to report their bounced checks to the Department of Labor. They were also able to write letters to creditors asking for relief.

"You should not have to destroy your credit because of somebody who failed to pay you for the job you did," said Mosley.

Unemployment officials also helped miners, and the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program talked about their dislocated worker services.

Miners reported their top 2 priority needs so local organizations can help.

"They've really laid a hurt on every one of their employees," said Quincy Adams, a Harlan County miner.

Miners are encouraged about the action taking place, but that does not replace what was lost.

"It's affected everything, everything I've got. I mean my bank account is in the negative two thousand dollars now because of all this over one person. Just one person caused every bit of this," said Gregory Joeseals Jr., a Harlan County miner.

Another meeting will be held in Harlan County at the old courthouse on Tuesday between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. That meeting will be for any business, church, non-profit or organization who wants to help the miners.

Letcher County will be holding a meeting at the Letcher County Recreation Center on Wednesday at 1 p.m.

Perry County is hosting a meeting at the Holiday Inn Express in Hazard at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Employees from SYKES are welcome to attend.

Original Story
Coal miners were fighting back Monday in Harlan County.

Judge-Executive Dan Mosley arranged a meeting for miners affected by Blackjewel LLC.'s bankruptcy.

Miners met with the Labor Department, unemployment officials, the health department and others. Governor Matt Bevin also announced Monday that the Labor Cabinet opened an investigation into Blackjewel.

Attorney Ned Pillersdorf is helping the miners seek legal action.

"These coal miners have been wronged, their families have been wronged, the community has been wronged and we feel he [Pillersdorf] has the expertise to navigate us through this process and helping make these people whole again," said Mosley.

Mosley said not only are checks bouncing but 401k's were not deposited and child support was not paid to the state.

"I don't know how there's not criminal charges that's brought against someone as a result of this. It's wrong on so many levels," Mosley said.

Blackjewel received a $5 million loan, but that money is not going to pay the miners' paychecks.

"You take care of your people. You pay your people before you pay anything else when you're running a company. These people have not been paid, the vendors of this community have not been paid. It's wrong, it's having a ripple effect on our economy," explained Mosley.

Local miners are looking for answers. They want to know when the mines will reopen.

"Rumors are flying. Some people are saying Friday, some people saying next Monday, meanwhile people that I owe money to for my bills are asking me, 'Where's your money,'" said Quincy Adams, a Harlan County miner. "Now I'm more worried about unemployment and insurance for my kids. I have a daughter who, in two weeks, have to have surgery on her eyes."

Until they get answers and the mines reopen, the hundreds of miners who showed up Monday night are stuck in limbo.

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