Harlan County Coal Miners Block Train Tracks as Dispute Intenfises

Non-union coal miners block train tracks outside of Blackjewel's Cloverlick coal mine in Harlan County, Kentucky (WYMT)

In a sign of growing labor tension in Harlan County, Kentucky, over 60 coal miners today blocked a coal train from leaving the Cloverluck mine owned by Blackjewel.

In early July, Blackjewel, which employs over 1,700 miners nationwide filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Without notice from the company, workers’ paycheck bounced this much with some workers being owed as much as $3,000 or $4,000.

Today, workers lat Blackjewel’s Harlan County, Kentucky mine noticed that train full of coal was being loaded. Suddenly, a group of half-dozen non-union miners showed up to block then. Eventually, more than 60 laid-off coal miners and their families showed up to block the train.

The non-union coal miners blocked the train for most of the day until the police arrived and made them let the train go through. However, workers continued their protest outside of the company this evening; threatening to escalate tactics if they aren’t paid what they are owed.

“Pay us. That’s all we want, our money, what we worked for, pay us. Regardless of if the company starts back up or not, they need to pay the men, cause we went in there and did do the job for them, you know what I’m saying?” Chris Lewis, a former miner who is owed around $4,000, told WYMT.

Donate to Help Us Continue to Cover the Growing Labor Struggle in Harlan County

About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter who covered everything from Lula & the Brazilian labor movement to major league baseball. He spent years covering union organizing in the South for The Guardian and was labeled by the New York Times as an "abrasive gadfly" for exposing within the labor movement. Raised in a UE union family in Pittsburgh, Elk was illegally for union organizing at Politico in 2015 and used his NLRB settlement to start the crowd-funded Payday Report. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and is fluent in both Pittsburghese and Portuguese, which he learned when attending journalism school at PUC-Rio de Janerio. Email: [email protected]

Be the first to comment on "Harlan County Coal Miners Block Train Tracks as Dispute Intenfises"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.