HARLAN COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) – Blackjewel protests in Harlan are entering week four and miners say they don’t plan to leave anytime soon.
Jeff Willig, an unemployed miner from Blackjewel, says the sun beaming down day after day is effecting how miners get through every day.
“At times we just have to sit under tents and stuff like that. Cool down, drink some water and Gatorade.”
Chris Rowe, an unemployed miner from Blackjewel, says the heat isn’t distracting the miners from their mission.
“It’s hot and we are all ready to go home,” Rowe said. “We’re hoping to get some resolution to it, but our thoughts are still the same. We are standing for what we’ve earned.”
Their mission is supported by many and according to Rowe, it’s what has helped them get through each day.
“That’s the biggest thing that keeps us going is the support from everybody and we’ve received so much of it,” said Rowe. “We have a crew that has been here since like day two.”
Two people part of that crew are Lill and Nico who have shown support since the start.
Lill says there is one reason they are there.
“Well I’m just here to encourage these miners and their families to keep it up,” said Lill. “I have a personal connection to this place and the people here. You know what I mean this is my home it’s the only home I’ve ever known.”
According to Rowe, they all have the same goal in mind: To be paid what they are owed and have answers provided to them after being left months in the dark.
“There is definitely light. Like I said we are taking baby steps but we are getting to where we want to go.”
Blackjewel miners say they still plan on staying at the tracks for however long it takes to get what they deserve.
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- Feds ask court to halt transport of Blackjewel coal in Virginia until miners get paid
- Virginia U.S. Rep. Griffith proposes legislation for Blackjewel employees
- Knoxville-based company to purchase Blackjewel mines, commit to paying back portion of owed wages
- Hundreds of Blackjewel miners gather at railroad tracks for answers from bankruptcy court
- Assistance available for Buchanan Co. Blackjewel miners, families
- Foundation to give $2,000 to each Virginia, Kentucky Blackjewel miner who registered in ‘immediate-need’ databases