HARLAN COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Department of Labor on Monday asked the bankruptcy court to order the halt of any Blackjewel coal out of Harlan County.
According to the court filing from the DOL, the coal is considered “hot goods” and should be prevented from being transported or transferred in interstate commerce until the Blackjewel coal miners are paid in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The FLSA requires Blackjewel to pay the miners for their work in mining and processing the coal.
The Blackjewel miners haven’t been paid since the company filed for bankruptcy July 1, 2019.
In protest, miners have blocked a CSX train with Blackjewel coal loaded cars from leaving Harlan County.
In the court filing, the DOL requested the bankruptcy court to order the halt of the Blackjewel coal in Harlan County and hold any sales from coal production in escrow until the miners are paid.
Also on Monday, out-of-work Blackjewel miners boarded a bus and passenger vans and rode to the federal bankruptcy court hearing in Charleston, West Virginia.
No decision was made on whether Contura Energy, based in Bristol, Tennessee, will be approved to buy three Blackjewel mines, one in West Virginia and two in Wyoming. The company made the successful bid for those assets at an auction last Friday. The hearing is scheduled to resume on Tuesday.
The laid-off miners want to make sure they’re paid amid the bankruptcy and the potential sale.