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Coal Transports Remain Halted as Bankruptcy Judge Weighs Blackjewel Case

Coal News - Published on Fri, 13 Sep 2019

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Herald Courier reported that thousands of tonnes of coal stockpiled in Southwest Virginia remain halted as a federal bankruptcy judge considers questions related to whether coal mined by Blackjewel LLC was produced in violation of labor laws and if a separate company that bought the coal can be allowed to move it. Because the bankruptcy court in Charleston, West Virginia, has not yet ruled on these issues, a federal district court judge in Abingdon extended a temporary restraining order last Friday to prevent the transport of coal located at three Blackjewel sites in Virginia near Raven, Honaker and Appalachia.

The US Department of Labor argues in court filings that coal at sites in Virginia and Kentucky are “hot goods” produced by unpaid workers, running afoul of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The law prohibits the transportation of goods made in violation of minimum wage and overtime requirements.

Blackjewel, which was one of the country’s largest coal producers, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on July 1 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. At the same time, it laid off hundreds of workers at its facilities in Kentucky, West Virginia, Wyoming and Virginia, and many reported that their final paychecks from the company bounced.

As the coal company moves through bankruptcy proceedings and sells its assets, it’s been unclear when and if former Blackjewel employees will be paid for work completed in June, before the company declared bankruptcy.

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Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Fri, 13 Sep 2019
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