Laid-off coal miners meet with Beshear

Published 2:00 pm Friday, July 26, 2019

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear, along with Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley, met with coal miners and families impacted by the Blackjewel mining bankruptcy to listen to their concerns and take questions on Thursday in the Harlan County Courthouse.

According to a press release from the Kentucky Office of the Attorney General, Beshear instructed his office to “use all of its powers and resources to seek answers for those impacted.” Beshear also appointed an investigator to look into complaints related to “clawed-back paychecks” and concerns related to child support deductions.

Beshear requested miners give handwritten statements of deductions for child support or 401k that weren’t forwarded to the appropriate offices. Mosley said his office will be collecting the statements through the week, asking miners to “be as detailed as possible in the statement regarding specific date amounts that were deducted from your check.”

Mosley said for miners to make sure they provide accurate contact information in their statement, including their name, address, phone number and e-mail address.

“If we already have a claim form that you submitted that shows this, we will attach your handwritten statement to those before delivery to the detectives,” Mosley said.

After the meeting, miners were invited downstairs to receive a variety of donated items, including food, toiletries, cleaning supplies, baby products and more.

Beshear and Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring jointly made a request to the bankruptcy court last week, asking for the “immediate payment” of all wages owed to the Blackjewel employees.

Beshear asks miners who have complaints or information related to Blackjewel’s bankruptcy and were unable to attend the meeting to contact his office at 502-696-5300, asking to speak with Jan Velez.

Mosley also shared details regarding a potential job opportunity for miners seeking work. FLUOR and their joint venture partner United Infrastructure Group, Inc., (UIG) will be hosting a job fair at the courthouse on Aug. 1 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Applications will be taken for laborers and equipment operators for an upcoming highway expansion project in Asheville, North Carolina, around a two and a half hour drive from Harlan. FLUOR and UIG are looking to fill 25-35 positions for the project, anticipating a four-year term.

The employment opportunity will give those hired the ability to continue residing in Harlan with lodging in Asheville provided by the company throughout the work week. Competitive pay and benefit packages are also being offered.

FLUOR Corporation is a global engineering, procurement, fabrication, construction and maintenance company. With its headquarters in Irving, Texas, FLUOR ranks 164th on the Fortune 500 list, with revenues of $19.2 billion in 2018 and more than 53,000 employees worldwide, as mentioned on their website.

UIG is a 95 year-old company headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is one of the Southeast’s most prominent bridge and roadway contractors. UIG’s leadership combines technical experience, construction ability, commitment to safety, innovative approaches and an unyielding dedication to quality. UIG’s exemplary track record and proven capability is evidenced by the successful completion of over 250 bridges and 30 miles of highway construction in recent years, as stated on their website.

“I appreciate FLUOR and UIG for recognizing the skills and work ethic our miners possess and for giving our folks the opportunity to apply for employment on this major project,” Mosley said.

For more information, call the judge-executive’s office at 606-573-2600.