LOGAN, W.Va. — A member of a UMWA local in Logan County is seeking help for soon-to-be laid off coal miners.
Roger Horton of the group Citizens for Coal and a member of Local 5958 said he’s urging public officeholders and others to step forward to help the 250 hourly and salaried employees impacted by the announced closing of Patriot Coal’s Guyan surface mine and Fanco preparation plant.
Horton said he’s been asked by the local union president to seek the assistance.
“To help him in his endeavors…to find offers of retraining and the necessary money to do so,” Horton said.
Patriot issued a 60-day WARN notice earlier this week. Horton said WARN opens the door for readjustment and retraining and that’s what he intends to seek.
“In order to help these nearly 300 people, both salaried and hourly, who are going to be displaced,” Horton said.
Patriot is currently operating under bankruptcy status. Closing the operations in Logan County is part of the company’s efforts to reorganize. It’s coming sooner than expected though because of the depressed coal market.
Horton said he’s concerned what might happen if retraining opportunities are not available. He noted what he saw happen after the Sharples mine in Logan County closed a few years ago.
“Over 400 men and women who worked there were laid off and I saw the divorce rate rise, suicides, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, all accelerate,” Horton said.
Patriot said it expects about 50 of the workers named in this week’s layoff to get jobs at other Patriot operations.