Update: 7:35 p.m. EST on Wednesday, 1-15-20:
PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ) – The protest over unpaid wages in Pike County is over.
The group of miners were blocking a coal train while waiting on thousands of dollars they said Quest Energy owed them.
According to Quest Energy, all of the miners have been paid.
One of the protesters says they have left the tracks.
Previous story below:
PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ) – Quest Energy responded with a statement Tuesday evening following a protest from some coal miners who work for the company over unpaid wages.
Here is the company’s statement in its entirety:
All the employees have been paid what they are owed. Unfortunately what they are demanding now is ransom and spreading lies at the expense of all of the rest of our amazing employees, which have reached out with great support for the company and their jobs. Its unfortunate the lies that are being spread by them as it could cost all the rest of our 200+ employees future employment in an already challenged industry. We pray for the rest of our employees and hope these few people understand their actions may put the rest of these hard working men and women out of work.
Original story below:
PIKE COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) — A group of miners in Pike County are still waiting for thousands of dollars they say Quest Energy owes them.
Just like over the summer in Harlan County when Blackjewel miners protested, these miners are now blocking a coal train.
“We’ll stay here until we’re paid,” says miner Kenny Collins.
Tuesday was day two of camping out on train tracks in the rain, stopping a train loaded with coal from leaving a Quest Energy mine, and all because these miners say they haven’t been paid in weeks.
“The last payday that I received was on the 27th. We work 7 days a week,” says one miner.
Fifty miners say the company keeps telling them to wait. First, until last Friday and then until Monday. But still, nothing.
“The bills don’t stop. They keep coming,” says Collins.
In a statement parent company, American Resources Corp, says it hasn’t been weeks but “some employees are behind eight days and some one day on their pay day”.
The company says it’s experiencing some short term issues from a “blip” in the coal markets.
Some miners have told the Mountain Top News they’re out thousands of dollars. One couldn’t pay his electric bill.
“I’ve got no power. And I’ve called over there and asked them and told the mines about my power being cut off today and all they could say is ‘We’re sorry. We’re working on it’.” says Collins.
Tuesday, some miners told the paper they can see an amount in the app they’re paid on but the money hasn’t hit their accounts.
“It’s hard to deal with, ya know,” says Collins.
Pike County Judge-Executive Ray Jones visited the miners. He told the Appalachian News-Express he’s talking with state and federal labor cabinets.
“And they are in the process of getting information and hopefully we can file a restraining order so that the train can’t move. They believe that would be a way to help expedite in making sure the workers are paid,” says judge-executive Ray Jones.
The company says all miners will be paid, it just doesn’t say when. And the miners won’t leave until then.