One of the largest coal mining companies filed for bankruptcy, leaving approximately 1,700 miners in the dark and without paychecks.
“We gave out word and showed up every day to work,” Virginia miner E.W. Griffith explained. “We just would like to be compensated for the work we’ve done.”
Blackjewel is the third-largest U.S. coal company to file for bankruptcy since May 2019, despite Trump’s pledges to revitalize the coal industry. The company shut down its mines, affecting work in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Wyoming. Workers had their paychecks clawed back from their bank accounts, And since workers haven’t officially been laid off, they aren’t allowed to collect unemployment.
Blackjewel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy with zero warning, which permits them to stop paying for the health care of retirees, cancel pensions owed to miners, and evade cleanup obligations.
“There’s 401(k) missing out of our accounts, there’s people that’s not had child support payments made that the child support’s been taken out of their payroll checks through the company,” Griffith said. “It’s just a bad deal and people oughta be held responsible for what they’ve done.”
A judge forced Blackjewel CEO Jeff Hoops to resign in order to grant the company $5 million in emergency funding. He is building a $30 million resort and golf course that will still move forward. Blackjewel also owes $60 million to the federal government, $37 million in county taxes, and $926,000 in outstanding fines.