Virginia Employment Commission response team to speak with Blackjewel employees

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RICHMOND, Va. (WJHL) – The Virginia Employment Commission will send a rapid response team to meet with employees of Blackjewel LLC after the company filed for bankruptcy protection and suddenly ceased operations last week.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Delegate Terry Kilgore (R-Gate City) said the team will begin meeting with employees early next week.

Gov. Ralph Northam (D) has directed the commission to waive the standard week-long waiting period for unemployment benefits for affected Blackjewel employees and has authorized overtime pay for Virginia Career Works representatives to assist workers with finding job training programs and new career opportunities.

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Hundreds of Blackjewel employees in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Wyoming were caught by surprise when the company suddenly closed its facilities last week on the same day it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Many also discovered that their paychecks had bounced.

The company has about 1,700 employees, including about 450 in Virginia.

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Blackjewel has secured funding to allow more than 140 employees to return to work to ensure the safety and security of the company’s mines and equipment. The company says additional funding is necessary to resume normal operations.

Impacted Blackjewel employees in Virginia can file for unemployment benefits and other support online, by calling the Virginia Employment Commission at 866-832-2363, or by visiting a local Virginia Career Works Center.

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