FILE - In this March 28, 2017, file photo, a dump truck hauls coal at Contura Energy's Eagle Butte Mine near Gillette, Wyo. Tennessee-based Contura Energy announced Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, that Blackjewel closed Friday on the sale of the Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr mines to a subsidiary of Alabama-based FM Coal. (AP Photo/Mead Gruver, File)

Attorney: Blackjewel miners to receive back pay this week

October 24, 2019 - 9:44 am

ABINGDON, Va. (AP) — Coal miners who blocked train tracks in Kentucky demanding to get paid for the coal they mined will benefit from a federal deal with the bankrupt company.

Blackjewel LLC agreed in court documents filed Monday to pay about $2.72 million in back wages to its employees in Virginia, the Bristol Herald Courier reported . The agreement involves a separate entity, Blackjewel Marketing and Sales Holdings, paying the bankrupt company $5.47 million to issue paychecks to employees who worked in its eastern mines. Blackjewel owned mines in Kentucky, West Virginia, Wyoming and Virginia.

Blackjewel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on July 1. It agreed to pay its workers following the sale of two mines in Wyoming last week.

"Payroll checks are expected to be issued this week," Blackjewel attorney Stephen Lerner wrote in a Wednesday email to the Bristol Herald Courier. They will cover unpaid wages earned between June 10 and July 1, according to court documents.

The U.S. Department of Labor had taken steps to prevent Blackjewel from moving thousands of tons of coal. The department alleged the coal violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, which prohibits the transportation of goods if the workers who produced them had not been paid.

Eagle Specialty Materials LLC purchased the two mines in Wyoming. The company has assumed the obligations of paying employees at Blackjewel's western mines.

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Information from: Bristol Herald Courier, http://www.bristolnews.com

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