BUCHANAN COUNTY, Va. — While Buchanan County miners who worked for Blackjewel are set to get nearly $1,000 each from donations of the county board of supervisors, the U.S. Labor Department has stepped up to try to halt any transport in Virginia of Blackjewel mined coal until the miners get the back pay they are owed, according to WCYB.
Labor officials said the coal mined by Blackjewel and stockpiled in Raven and Honaker should be considered “hot goods.” That means labor officials consider the coal produced in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
A total of 1,700 people in Virginia, surrounding states, and in Wyoming are owed paychecks after Blackjewel suddenly filed for bankruptcy and failed to pay miners.
Blackjewel said it’s agreeing to hold $1.4 million dollars in a segregated account for Kentucky miners and will take similar steps in Virginia.
A ruling is pending in federal bankruptcy court in Charleston, West Virginia.
Kopper Glo Mining, LLC, a Knoxville company, will take over and begin to operate the Black Mountain and Lone Mountain coal mining operations in Harlan County, Kentucky, it said in a news release sent in early August.
The company said in the release that it will try to re-hire many of the former Blackjewel employees who stopped receiving their pay after that company abruptly filed for bankruptcy in early July.
Kopper Glo also said it would pay for the employees' back wages.
"The Management of the Company has a plan to re-start certain operations and is confident this plan will bring jobs back to many of the former Blackjewel employees," the release said. "Kopper Glo is also committed to funding to the portion of the back wages due to the employees."