Coal Company Offers Deal That Could Pay Hundreds of Kentucky Miners for Unpaid Wages
By Will Wright and Bill Estep
October 3, 2019 - A months-long dispute over the unpaid wages of hundreds of Kentucky coal miners could be nearing a close if a proposal offered Wednesday by an attorney representing the coal company is accepted by a West Virginia bankruptcy court.
After months of litigation and weeks of protests in Harlan County, the deal could provide Blackjewel LLC with about $5.5 million that it would use to pay its former Kentucky employees.
While the deal has yet to be finalized, officials with the U.S. Department of Labor said during Wednesday’s court hearing that they expect to come to an agreement with Blackjewel as early as next week.
Ned Pillersdorf, an attorney representing miners in the bankruptcy case, said the deal represents “a possible light at the end of the tunnel,” but declined to provide additional comments on the specifics of the proposal, saying the miners’ attorneys are in active negotiations with the company.