Department of Labor asks court to prohibit transport of Blackjewel coal until miners get paid


A miner looks on as a train hauls coal away from Cloverlick Mine 1. Blackjewel miners have not been paid in about a month. (Photo: Connor James / WYMT)

CHARLESTON, W.V. (WJHL) – The U.S. Department of Labor is asking a federal bankruptcy court to block the transport of Blackjewel coal in Harlan County, Kentucky until the miners who dug it out of the ground get paid.

The department filed the motion Monday in the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.

Hundreds of Blackjewel employees are still waiting on the company to pay them for work they performed prior to the company filing for bankruptcy protection and suddenly closing operations on July 1.

DOL says it is against federal law “to transport, offer for transportation, ship, deliver, or sell in commerce, or to ship, deliver, or sell with knowledge shipment or delivery or sale thereof in commerce is intended, any goods in the production of which any employee was employed in violation of [the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirement].”

The department says the coal is considered “hot goods.”

In protest of the unpaid wages, miners have been blocking a coal train from leaving a mine site in Harlan County. The protest entered its seventh day on Monday and has received national attention.

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