Kentucky Coal Miners Say They Were Laid Off Without Notice, Some Missing Paychecks
January 4, 2020 - Miners with Perry County Coal in Kentucky say they were laid off right before the new year without any notice.
"But I know what my situation is. They didn't give me no notice and I went and did every day what I could do for them with what they had to do with," said Greg Mullins, one of the laid-off miners.
In October, the company laid off at least ten miners in Hazard.
Turn the page to the end of 2019 and at the beginning of 2020, almost all of its workforce was told they were without a job.
"It's been rough. The last four years have been rough," said Mullins. "It got where we couldn't get the supplies, bolts, nuts, stuff we needed to repair and fix the equipment to keep it running so men would have a job."
Mullins has been underground for 42 years of his life.
"He's sure blessed me. 42 years, it's been a good run and I'll piddle here now. I'll do whatever I have to do to get by. They can give me social security or I can grub and dig roots. I was raised here in these hills," said Mullins.
This came out of nowhere for Mullins. He says he will be alright, but it is the younger miners and their families he worries about.
"The fourth and fifth-generation miners, they've got set up like that. They've got little children and I know nobody gave them a box of food or nothing when they got laid off...it's hard to understand," said Mullins.
Perry County Judge Executive Scott Alexander says the company has filed no WARN notice with the county.
"We've not and we've struggled to find out for sure who the actual owner is. I think they're operating under three different names, but we've received nothing here at our office of any layoff notice," said Alexander.
While Alexander is working to figure out what is going on, he echos the sentiment of many working in coal.
"It's affecting us greatly. We have limited resources left and we want good quality companies to come in here and mine our coal. We are for mining coal but we want them first to be good to the men and women who work there. And when they earn a wage we want them to be paid that wage, but we're also looking for them to invest in the community," said Alexander.
The judge executive has talked to the Department of Labor. If any miners want to file a formal complaint they can call the judge's office at (606) 439-3699. If you are having trouble filing for unemployment and you are a laid-off Perry County Coal miner they will help you as well.
We reached out to Perry County Coal's office for a statement and have not heard back from them.