Standoff: Ky. miners block train loaded with $1 million of coal after paychecks bounce

Standoff: Ky. miners block train loaded with $1 million of coal after paychecks bounce
Coal miners at the end of their shift on the first day of the job (Image: Library of Congress)

[Ed. – Did the stunt get them their money?]

Miners in Harlan County, Kentucky are demanding weeks in back pay after a major coal company issued bad checks to hundreds of non-union workers before abruptly declaring bankruptcy, resulting in lost jobs and overdrawn bank accounts.

Protestors have occupied a section of railroad tracks near the remote town of Cumberland since last Monday, when six out-of-work miners gathered to block a train loaded with about $1 million worth of coal from leaving a mine owned by their former employer, Blackjewel LLC. The encampment grew last week as churches, politicians, and a community already ravaged by a declining coal industry rallied to support the miners’ effort to get compensated for their work. Blackjewel reportedly wrote cold checks to about 350 miners in the county.

“We’re not out here trying to get more than what we’ve earned,” miner Chris Rowe, one of the original demonstrators, told CBS News.

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