Staff and wire reports

Miners employed in Appalachian coal mines by Blackjewel LLC are wondering how they will pay for basic needs after the company sought bankruptcy protection last week, and a Kentucky organization is working to help fill that gap.

Community Action Kentucky on Wednesday announced that a GoFundMe account has been set up by Harlan County Community Action to support miners and families affected by the Blackjewel LLC mine closures, according to a new release. Community Action Kentucky is an association of community action agencies across Kentucky.

The organization said that about 1,100 employees of the company have been left unemployed across the Appalachian region, including hundreds in eastern Kentucky. Miners received final paychecks on June 28, 2019, only to have them pulled from bank accounts on July 1. Many miners and their families have been left with negative bank account balances, unable to pay for basic needs, according to the organization.

GoFundMe account is intended to directly help miners and their families meet immediate needs such as mortgage assistance, rent, utilities and food. All money donated is tax deductible and will go directly to impacted workers.

"Our hearts hurt for the miners and families that have been so suddenly thrown into a world of economic distress and uncertainty," said Donna Pace, executive director of Harlan County Community Action. "We greatly appreciate the support of our Community Action community for helping us raise awareness about this time-sensitive crisis. Even more though, we are grateful for those that have donated or will donate, helping to ease the financial burden thrust upon those directly affected by this massive loss of jobs."

To donate directly through the GoFundMe account, please visit

tominersHarlanCAA. Also this week, some Virginia miners for the coal company said their paychecks are bouncing and they remain out of work as the company goes through bankruptcy proceedings.

Blackjewel, until last week led by CEO Jeffery Hoops of Milton, West Virginia, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy July 1 and said it needed about $6 million to pay employees. The company said in a release they intend to compensate employees for time worked before the filing.

A court authorized Blackjewel to borrow $5 million for essential staff and emergencies only.

Blackjewel was among the country's largest coal producers, with operations in Wyoming, Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky.


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