Two weeks ago, the news came down that three of the main companies betting big on coal’s resurgence had filed for bankruptcy: Black Jewel, Black Hawk, and Revelation.
Shortly thereafter, hundreds of workers showed up for work to find out that there was no work, but also that they had not been formally laid off—so they couldn’t draw on their unemployment benefits that they thought they had been paying into. As it turns out, that wasn’t the only account they had, on paper at least, thought they’d been paying into.
Several of Revelation’s workers were surprised to find out that they also had bench warrants out for their arrest for back child support, alimony, and other unpaid responsibilities that they thought were being taken out of their paychecks.
This is to say nothing of the barrage on these workers’ health at the hands of greedy CEOs who would rather cut their overhead than look out for worker safety by ensuring proper ventilation in the mines to curb the incidence of black lung—a disease that’s been eradicated in many European countries’ mines through the instituting of simple ventilation improvements—but that is at epidemic levels in the US.
Meanwhile, Revelation CEO Jeff Hoops is building a multimillion dollar resort while his workers’ health and livelihoods are threatened.
We are heartened however by the train track demonstration going on in Harlan County today. This fund is for those folks and other families devastated by the bankruptcies, so give whatever you can, and if you find yourself down in Harlan County stop by for the cornhole tournament.