Blackjewel miners receiving donations from community, still camped out on tracks after two weeks

Posted at 5:22 PM, Aug 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-13 18:22:19-04

HARLAN COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — "No pay, no coal," that's the simple message from former Blackjewel Mining workers.

Workers have camped on train tracks outside of Cumberland for two weeks, demanding money they earned digging coal.

For more than a month, the out-of-work miners have been without a paycheck. But, a community has been coming together to make sure they are not forgotten.

More than 20 miles from the coal mine and protest site, hundreds packed into the Harlan Center. Early on Tuesday, the Christian Appalachian Project packed in truckloads of donated items.

The items included everything from cereal to shampoo, even diapers. Anything that would help and out-of-work miners and their families, and deliver hope.

"Probably about $50,000 to $75,000 worth of product in the five tractor trailer loads of product we brought over. So, it's a big shot in the arm to the community here in Harlan County," said Jeff Burchett, who is part of the Christian Appalachian Project.

Harlan County Blackbear Football Team took a break from practice to help out. Linebacker Hunter Johnson has helped drop donations instead of quarterbacks.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Andy Beshear announced on Tuesday that he is trying to figure out if Kentucky miners working for other companies would be protected if the companies went out of business.

Beshear said Kentucky's Labor Cabinet failed to enforce a state law that would have required Blackjewel to post a performance bond, which would have covered the payroll for the workers.

Now, Beshear's office is looking into which companies have a bond in place.