Posts Tagged ‘BlackJewel Mining’

Miners End Blockade of CSX Coal Train in Kentucky

October 1, 2019

Although Kentucky coal miners have ended their strike, the fate of a CSX coal train they had blockaded remains uncertain.

The miners blocked the train from moving to protest losing their jobs and not being paid for work they had performed before being laid off by Blackjewel Mining.

News media reports said the miners ended the blockade of the train last week after nearly two months of picketing.

The train is at Clover Fork No. 3 mine near Cumberland in Harlan County. The miners said they had mined the coal loaded on that train but had not been paid for their work in the wake of Blackjewel filing for bankruptcy protection in July.

The miners have reported that their last paychecks bounced after the bankruptcy filing.

The 80-car train on the Poor Fork Subdivision is still at the mine. The protesting miners allowed CSX to remove the two locomotives that had been attached to the train..

A CSX spokesman told Trains magazine that it will wait before moving the train.

“At this point, CSX is awaiting the conclusion of the legal proceedings in this matter before making any determination about moving the coal,” said CSX Media Relations Director Cindy Schild.

The blockade of the train began on July 29. News reports indicate that it ended after the remaining protesting miners found jobs at other companies or began training for other trades.

The number of protesting miners at the blockade site has progressively grown smaller in recent weeks.

A federal judge in West Virginia had ruled in mid September that the Blackjewel and the U.S. Department of Labor were to enter into confidential negotiations to conclude by Oct. 1.

The Labor Department had asserted in a court filing that the coal loaded on the train was “hot goods” because it had been produced by miners who had not been paid for their work.

The filing had the effect of stopping the shipment of coal produced at Blackjewel mines for which miners had not been paid.

The protesting miners had earlier rejected an offer by the new owner of the Clover Fork mine, KopperGlo Mining, that would have paid them an average of $800 per person toward their unpaid wages. Some of the miners said they were owed more than $4,000.

Kentucky Miners Continue Blocking CSX Branch Line

August 17, 2019

Laid off coal miners in eastern Kentucky are continuing to block the movement of a coal train by CSX after they rejected a settlement offer from the new owner of the mine where they once worked.

The blockade of the Poor Fork Branch near Cumberland has now entered its third week. The miners are protesting not having been paid for work they performed before being laid off.

The offer the miners turned down was made by KopperGlo Mining, which recently purchased Blackjewel Mining Cloverfork No. 3, which closed after the owner of Blackjewel sought bankruptcy protection in July.

KopperGlo reportedly offered to put the laid off miner back to work and pay them an average of $800 each toward their unpaid wages.

In return the miners would have to agree to cease blocking the CSX tracks.

One miner quoted by Trains magazine said the miners rejected the offer because it was $800 in exchange for $4,000 per miner in unpaid wages.

“The way we see it, we’ve already worked for it once, so we’re not interested in doing the work twice and getting paid for it once,” he said.

The blockade of the rail line began on July 29 and prevented a CSX coal train from leaving the mine in Harlan County.

The miners have said they will not allow the coal train to leave the mine until they are paid for the work they performed to mine the coal loaded in the 80-car train.

The protesting miners did allow a CSX crew to remove the three locomotives that had been attached to the train.

Miners Allows CSX Locomotives to Pass Without Train

August 2, 2019

Two CSX locomotives were allowed to leave a closed Kentucky coal mine that miners have been blockading this week to protest losing their jobs and not being paid for work they performed before being laid off.

The miners agreed to step aside after the railroad agreef to leave behind the loaded coal train the locomotives were pulling.

The incident occurred at Blackjewel Mining’s Cloverfork No. 3 mine near Cumberland, Kentucky.

In a statement, CSX said the miners agreed to allow railroad personnel to retrieve the locomotives, an ES44AC and a CW44AC.

“We continue to monitor the situation and are hopeful that a quick resolution can be reached,” CSX said in the statement.

The miners were in their fourth day of protesting having their last paychecks withdrawn by a bank following Blackjewel’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in July.

The miners have said they won’t leave the tracks until they are paid. News reports indicate that many of the miners have not been paid in more than a month.

The report said former Blackjewel CEO Jeff Hoops has taken responsibility for the situation and told the miners that he tried to deposit money to pay them but that action was spurned by a federal bankruptcy court.

Hoops contends that the recall of the paychecks occurred after a creditor advising Blackjewel’s bank asked it to freeze the company’s accounts, as well as Hoops’ personal accounts, before the company could file for bankruptcy in consideration of its debt to that creditor.

Hoops said in a letter to the miners that he has received threats against his life, his family, and his assets.

Unpaid Miners Block CSX Coal Train in Kentucky

July 31, 2019

Fed up with having been laid off and unpaid for the time they did work, workers of a Kentucky coal company blocked a CSX coal train from leaving a mine on Monday.

The miners for BlackJewel Mining formed a human chain across the rails to block the train from leaving Cloverlick No. 3 mine near Cumberland, Kentucky.

BlackJewel is a subsidiary of Revelation Emergy, which sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection under federal law in early July.

Revelation subsequently shuttered most of its mines. The miners said they have gone unpaid for work they performed and their benefits and insurance are in question.

The mine where the blockade occurred is on the former Louisville & Nashville Poor Fork Branch.

News media reports said the miners were peaceful and demanded that they be paid for mining coal that likely was aboard the train that they halted.

Kentucky State Police troopers were dispatched to the scene to inform the miners that they were standing on private property, but no arrests were made.

The miners eventually relented and allowed the train to pass.

On Tuesday, though, miners again stood on CSX tracks near Cumberland., but it was not clear if any trains were slated to serve the Cloverlick No. 3 mine.