More miners face lay-offs

By: Marcus Conroy Email
By: Marcus Conroy Email

Coal miners who worked in three eastern Kentucky counties are looking for new jobs tonight.

Officials with Miller Brothers Mining say they were forced to lay off 85 employees yesterday from sites in Magoffin, Floyd, and Knott Counties. The company is operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy right now, and is reducing production at several mine sites.

The work day ends around 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday at Miller Brothers Coal, but this Monday ended a little different than usual. At the end of the shift, 85 workers lost their jobs.

"Just the way everything's been going, we saw it coming, just didn't know when," laid-off worker Mike Skaggs said.

Even though he could sense it, Skaggs said the layoffs were still devastating, even for the boss.

"You could tell it destroyed him. You know because it's kinda like a family on jobs like that," Skaggs said.

Most of the laid-off workers went to the Prestonsburg employment office to collect unemployment checks and start the job search.

"Go in here, write my name on a piece of paper and see if I can get a check. That's the only thing I know to do until I find a job," laid-off worker Randall Vanhoose said.

"Go work somewhere else, doing the same thing. It's pretty much a lot of us, it's the only thing we've ever done," Skaggs said.

Hours were reduced for the remaining employees, which Vanhoose says is not enough to support his family.

"In a way it was good news too. Because you can't quit, but you can't live off of 33 hours either. So if you quit, you wouldn't get unemployment," Vanhoose said.

"I don't know what to expect. Got bills to pay, just gotta work thru it," Skaggs said.

Vanhoose said he already has one job prospect, but says he wants to be careful so he doesn't face unemployment again any time soon. Miller Brothers officials say the layoffs were in response to weak demand for coal and the uncertainty of issuance of new mining permits.

They add more than 200 workers are still employed by the company in eastern Kentucky. Officals say they are committed to keep mining and supplying customers with coal while under Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

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  • by tom Location: martin on Dec 25, 2009 at 10:27 AM
    obama lovers say down with coal go green go obama if cap and trade goes in effect everybody is going to suffer from it power plants will pass the cost on down the line to republicans and democrats as long as you have electricity you will pay so thank you obama and all of you tree huggers
  • by Billy Location: Martin on Oct 16, 2009 at 04:32 AM
    Let's do away with mining that way we can become a welfare state like Obama wants and we can depend on the government for everything. Then we can go hug trees all day with Kentuckians for the Commonwealth. People it is time for us to wake and support mining because it is not as bad as these tree huggers let on.
  • by db Location: hazard Ky. on Oct 15, 2009 at 09:07 PM
    Hey, E.B. My husband is a coal miner and yes, he has other skills. What is your occupation? Oh, maybe you don't have one. My husband works, he don't have all day to set and type. Hey, stupid it takes electricity for you to set all day and TYPE.
  • by RACER X on Oct 15, 2009 at 12:09 PM
  • by EB on Oct 15, 2009 at 03:57 AM
    Coalminer, from your lack of language skills, you are certainly in a good position to call someone else stupid. Your ignorance illustrates the real problem with layoffs in coal mining areas. Some of the miners, like you, don't have the skills or education to get another job. Therefore your fear is multiplied. And there is no war on coal, it's just an effort to get coal companies to obey the law. The coal companies use ignorance like yours to create fear when if they had obeyed the law to begin with, they wouldn't be in the situation they are in. And if you don't understand the boom and bust nature of the coal industry you are either an idiot or are willfully ignorant.
  • by sad Location: FLOYD on Oct 14, 2009 at 09:14 PM
    It doesnt matter who is to blame. Finding blame wont change the fact that more families have lost their paychecks and in turn are going to have a hard time fnancially. These men work hard to provide for their wives and kids. May God Bless each and every one of the laid off workers and their families and not just those affected by Miller Brothers, but all laid off miners.
  • by Anonymous on Oct 14, 2009 at 04:53 PM
    EB, If you had any kind of business, were in chapter 11, and could not produce the goods or services, do you really think you would come out of it? You think we are poor now, wait until 800 million dollars a year in wages that are paid to miners ends. I will then agree with you about us being poor.
  • by Former Kentuckian on Oct 14, 2009 at 02:11 PM
    How stupid was it for the U.M.U. unions to tell coal miners to vote for Obama. He said he was against coal and he has proven it. Maybe those union leaders won't have lights and heat. That would be Karma.
  • by JW Location: FLOYD COUNTY on Oct 14, 2009 at 12:06 PM
    KY Personnel cabinet/online has jobs in this area for mine inspectors and other jobs that require mining experience. It won't pay what you're used to, but it's a job with health benefits and retirement.
  • by coalminer on Oct 14, 2009 at 09:36 AM
    EB are you to stupid to read. read the article how do you expect a company to come out of bankruptcy when they can not get the permits to mine. I have been on their jobs they are effected by Obama's war on coal. Its stupid people like you that no little about anything other than running your mouth that are going to sink this coutry.
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