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Protest of Pike County mine company continues

Posted at 6:33 PM, Jan 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-15 18:46:16-05

PIKE COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — A fight for miners to get their paychecks they earned is nothing new.

Harlan County miners waited more than three months for their wages. Just a few weeks ago, after Perry County Coal shut down a mine, workers had to ask the government to help in receiving their owed wages.

"We've seen it for years, and it's getting worse than ever to where corporate America will come in, take what resources we've got and leave us holding the bag," said Perry County Judge Executive Scott Alexander.

Alexander says Cambrian Coal declared bankruptcy last summer. One of the company's assets, Perry County Coal, was acquired by American Resources Corporation.

"I think they've idled down to nothing. It really shocks me that a company can pick up a company out of bankruptcy in September, and now just a few months later, they've idled the company that they picked up," said Alexander.

American Resources Corporation also owns Quest Energy, the company that operates the Pike County mine where workers have halted the trains until they get paid.

We spoke to one miner who says he's received some wages in the past 24 hours, but he's still missing two days of pay.

He didn't want to share his name, but told us the group on the tracks just got a some donated firewood, and are ready for a cold night out.

LEX 18's Conroy Delouche had correspondence with ARC earlier on Wednesday. On Monday, the company acknowledged some miners had gone as many as eight days without pay. But today, they ignored our questions about their operations.

In one email, the company representative said:

"Company statement is consistent. We fight for all of our employees and care deeply for them.

Answering your other questions don’t really help us as it appears the media is just painting us with a negative brush despite we provide jobs for people in a tough industry.

Through our various companies we have employed people in the area for over 13 years and proud of the fact that we have paid over $100 of million in payroll to the eastern Kentucky community over the last 10 years. We desire to continue to fight for the people of eastern Kentucky, the 98% of our work force."