Nearly 600 Blackjewel LLC coal miners in Campbell County are suddenly out of work after the company abruptly closed the Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr mines on Monday afternoon.
The move took place just hours after the company filed for Chapter 11 filing for bankruptcy in West Virginia. Requests for immediate financial assistance to hold the mines in the 32 Blackjewel factories in Wyoming and the eastern United States were rejected or not processed.
Online court records starting on Monday night contained no provisions for the first Monday bankruptcy hearing.
This hearing was scheduled for lunchtime in the mountains, and by 2.30pm workers employed in the mines had been recalled. The local management informed them that there is no more money for the operation and that they can pick up and leave their tools.
"We load our toolboxes and everything just now," said a miner from Eagle Butte who asked not to be identified. 1
He said the workers were told they could be recalled if the company got emergency funding or loans to resume operations, but also said he did not hold his breath when they were told The manager "was quite emotional and upset and you could see the compassion in his heart," he said of the afternoon bomb, also saying that nobody had bad feelings
"He had pretty tearful eyes," he said. "The management had nothing to do with this. (President and CEO of the company) Jeff Hoops, these guys are like family and friends out here. They've been out here for five, ten, fifteen, or more years together. "
Another Blackjewel employee working at the Belle Ayr Mine in the Nightshik ht said he received a call at around 3:00 pm. Monday told him not to report to work.
"I was called by my boss and he told me not to come tonight," he said. The miner also asked not to be identified.
He described the early news of the bankruptcy and closed the mines hours later as "a double slap in the face".
He said instead of getting ready Monday afternoon, he spent his time calling his creditors to try to stay afloat if the cutoff lasts longer or is permanent.
"This not only harms our employees, it damages our society, and it hurts badly," he said.
A Rocky Weekend
The shutdown occurred after a turbulent four-day run for Blackjewel LLC in Wyoming that began with employees not being paid as usual on Friday.
The mines lost their production on Friday and Saturday because most miners left because they had not been paid, both miners said.
They said that while employees were paid on Sunday with cash checks, there were other signs of financial instability.  You said the company did not pay at least four employee contributions to their 401K retirement accounts and at least three payments to their health insurance accounts.
"That's money from our own paychecks, not from their contributions," said the Eagle Butte miner said.
The Belle-Ayr worker said that these missed payments and the missed paycheck on Friday were enough to make him cautious.
"As soon as we missed the paycheck, I updated my CV and began searching," he said. I have to look for other mining jobs across the country. "
Campbell County officials have visited the state and the local office of the Department of State on Monday afternoon Workforce Services has spoken since they have learned of the closure of the mines.
"We are really worried," said Commission Commissioner Rusty Bell. "We've been on the phone four times with Workforce Services over the past 15 minutes to make sure we (the workers concerned) receive all the services they need. "
we know how difficult it is."