A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

As coal industry continues collapse, miners left with uncertainty, fighting for benefits and back pay

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service A wave of coal company bankruptcies has left miners fighting for back pay and medical benefits. Three large coal producers have gone under this year. At the same time, an epidemic of black lung disease is sweeping many coal mining communities. More than 1,000 coal miners were laid off after West Virginia-based Blackjewel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. (Photo...

AG Andy Beshear vows to protect Kentucky workers in bankruptcy action by BlackJewell mines

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Attorney General Andy Beshear is weighing in after his office received complaints about a major West Virginia coal producer that declared bankruptcy earlier this week.

 Charleston-based BlackJewel LLC, which operates mines in West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday, with CEO Jeff Hoops saying there wasn’t...

Black lung disease is still killing coal miners, and the coal industry doesn’t want to acknowledge it

By Elyssa East Special to KyForward Dr. James Brandon Crum was alarmed. For months, unemployed coal miners had been coming into his clinic in Coal Run Village seeking chest radiographs. One patient in 2015 stood out. He was in his early 40s, about the same age as Crum, and had three children at home, just like him, but he could barely walk. The 68ft hallway between the x-ray room and Crum’s office...

Rural Blog: Coal miners pushing for a fix for health care fund, set to terminate at the end of April

Retired Kentucky coal miners headed to Washington last week to press Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, “to fix the health care fund for more than 22,000 United Mine Workers of America retirees nationwide,” Curtis Tate reports for McClatchy Newspapers. Benefits are scheduled to be terminated at the end of April. A pair of Senate bills were introduced in...

Daily Yonder: Change in crew leaves miner facing prank proactively; time comes to push back

By Gary Bentley Special to KyForward The whole point of high-visibility paint is that it makes things easier to see. Especially when it’s sprayed on something that’s already hard to miss, like a naked man. “It’s your last day on our crew. You better be ready ’cause we’re going to cut your pants off, paint your d-ck pink, and make you ride outside like that.” Bobby just laughed as the...