Former miners who stared down a coal train end their protest

Coal mine in Kentucky, US. Stock image.

Former Blackjewel LLC employees blocking a coal train in Kentucky in protest of working without pay are shutting down the demonstration after close to two months, still empty-handed.

Laid-off miners, their friends and family had set up camp on railroad tracks outside Cumberland, Kentucky, preventing a coal train from leaving the mine where some of them used to work. Now the protest is ending, Cumberland Mayor Charles Raleigh said, confirming local media reports.

The contentious bankruptcy of their former employer rages on. A fight is ongoing between the U.S. Department of Labor and the company over whether coal sold before the bankruptcy can be legally delivered to its buyer. The Labor Department argues the coal is “hot goods” that can’t be shipped because workers who helped mine it are owed back wages.

Blackjewel is in the process of selling off its assets to pay creditors. The mining company filed for bankruptcy on July 1 after running out of cash to pay its debts and issued cold paychecks to some employees days before filing.

The case is Blackjewel LLC, 3:19-bk-30289, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of West Virginia (Huntington).

(By Jeremy Hill)

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