BUCHANAN COUNTY, Va. (WJHL) — Some of United Coal Co.’s 135 recent layoffs in Southwest Virginia could be permanent, the company’s CEO told News Channel 11 in an email.
John Schroder said “prevailing market conditions,” primarily the price of coal and coal stockpile levels, prompted the layoffs announced earlier this month and set to take effect Sept. 10.
He said there was no specific timeline anticipated for any positions to be recalled.
Recalls will be dependent on an improvement in prevailing market conditions and a destocking of their current levels of inventory.
In total, 135 employees are expected to be impacted. The vast majority of those are listed as working at three mine locations — 58 at the Elk Creek surface mine in Hurley and 59 combined at the Paw Paw 2 mine’s north and south locations. Paw Paw 2 is a deep mine. United’s website shows both began operating in 2019.
They are part of United’s Wellmore subsidiary, while United itself, based in Johnson City, is owned by Metinvest, a Ukrainian-based coal multinational.
The Elk Creek mine currently employs 67 people and the layoffs would drop that to just nine. Employment at its company trucks, safety and engineering department in Grundy would drop from 30 to 18 with the company’s lab dropping two of seven positions and its shop and warehouse decreasing from 13 employees to 10.