Blackjewel LLC, one of the country’s largest coal companies, has filed for bankruptcy.
Employees of Blackjewel, which employs about 1,100 people in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia, were last paid Friday, June 28, but had their paychecks pulled from their bank accountsMonday, July 1. Many workers had already paid their bills. Some were hundreds of miles away from home on vacation. Most were left thousands of dollars overdrawn as their hard earned money disappeared from their accounts.
Blackjewel’s actions have put hundreds of families in my hometown of Harlan, Kentucky and the surrounding areas out of work and in the negative, leaving them no choice but to sell off personal property or file for unemployment just to keep their families afloat. However, because Blackjewel is yet to officially close up shop for good, many employees are running into issues and disputes at the unemployment line. It also means a cutoff in benefits, which results in many employees being unable to afford to seek medical attention when necessary. Some workers have even begun to notice missing payments into their retirement fund as far back as April.
This entire situation is criminal. Operating in already financially depressed area of the country, Blackjewel has their foot on the neck of workers in the industry that keeps Appalachia alive. Miners are desperate to pay their bills. Most can’t afford groceries for their families. One worker’s wife lamented that she had no option but to count out spare change just to buy toilet paper.
This fundraising effort is being done in partnership with With Love From Harlan- a reputable nonprofit organization located in Harlan, KY that focuses on community outreach.
By donating now, you are helping WLFH provide these hard working families with the things the need most right now- food, utility bill payments, household necessities- while we work with state legislators and community leaders to bring justice and relief to those suffering from this senseless act financial abuse.