Kentucky Miners Block Coal Train Over Missed Paychecks: 'I Don't Know What Else To Do'

Tuesday, January 14th 2020, 5:10 am
By: CBS News

Some Kentucky coal miners and their families stood on train tracks Monday to prevent a train loaded with coal from leaving, saying they had worked since Dec. 16 without being paid. The tracks lead from Quest Energy in Pike County.

A CSX crew went to the tracks to get the engine and left the loaded train cars there, CBS affiliate WYMT-TV reported. Miners told the station they expected to be paid Friday, then were told to wait until Monday, when the date was pushed back again.

Miners at the tracks told WYMT about 50 miners are owed for three weeks of work. 

"I don't know what else to do but try to stop the train from taking our coal out of here. If they want to pay us for our... for what we've worked, we'll let the train go," one miner told WYMT. "But, if not, we're gonna stand right here. We'll stand here for every coal miner that's ever been beat out of anything. It just ain't right."

Kenny Collins, who operates a shuttle car at the underground mine, said his power was cut off Monday, and he is owed more than $3,000.

"They won't get their coal until we're paid," Collins said.

WYMT reports the American Resource Corporation, who owns Quest Energy, released a statement regarding the miners not getting paid: "Some of the employees are behind 8 days and some 1 day on their payday. They will all be paid as we don't take this lightly. They have been paid since the 16th, so we are not sure where that number is coming from. We do not work men 17 hours as stated. We work a very normal mining schedule. We value the employees greatly for their work and their future work." 

Miners last summer in Harlan County held a similar protest when Blackjewel filed bankruptcy. The miners eventually were given a deal to be paid and let the train pass.