CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has promised help to those miners who lose their jobs as Patriot Coal makes cuts to its workforce.

The company announced last week it had sent out WARN notices to more than 800 miners at two sites, the Wells Mining Complex near Wharton and the Corridor G complex near Danville. Patriot President and CEO Ben Hatfield estimated about 100 workers, 50 from each site, would be laid off in the near future. As for the rest of the miners, their jobs remain up in the air.

Governor Tomblin said as soon as he got the news, his team went into action.

“I’ve already contacted my WorkForce West Virginia, DHHR, all of my team that are ready and geared up to work with the miners and their families,” stressed Tomblin.

Tomblin said it’s important that those miners who do lose their jobs have benefits coming their way. They also need to have an updated resume to begin looking for a new job as soon as possible.

“It’s a sad day but we’re moving forward as state government to assist those families in a very tough time in their lives,” explained the governor.

Hatfield said the coal market is in bad shape with demand way down.

Tomblin said unfortunately for southern West Virginia, coal mining is “the” way of life for thousands of men and women.

“That has been one of the problems with basically a single industry. We’ve watched it over the years. When the coal is selling good, it’s hard to get enough miners. When the price goes down or the demand goes down, those jobs go,” according to Tomblin.

The governor said the entire region will be impacted because the mines support thousands of spin-off jobs which will take a hit as well.

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  • Pat white

    Here is one thing I don't understand,,,,among the many issues of coal. There are a lot of laid off miners that have worked for 10 to 15 years without being laid off. All those years they paid into unemployment benefits,,,,,Where did that money go?,,,,,These laid off miners are being told they will only receive 6 months benefits?What are they suppose to do? without coal production in wv,there are no jobs.,,,,,,They are entitled to extended unemployment at the least,,,,,but I am sure they would rather have their jobs

  • Union Coal Miners Alert

    The Miners Want Their Jobs! Not unemployment! Congressman Nick Rahall supported Obama -- and Obama was not a supporter of Coal. Makes me wonder when we see Cecil Roberts on the commercials for Rahall -- Who is Cecil Roberts supporting? Certainly Not the Coal Miners. Certainly not supporting the Union either!

  • TheFuture

    Whelp that’s it folks, put a nail in the coal industry in WV. Gov. Tomblin’s first call wasn’t to the DHHR and Workforce WV, it was to other coal companies. What he heard was the same story over and over again, no we aren’t hiring any new workers and likely we will be laying off soon too. Bottom line is that we can now imagine a future where by 2020 or 2025 there may be no coal miners in WV. That is a lot of workers, most not college educated, who simply aren’t going to have prospects of work. I’ll be praying for those workers, their families, and the small communities that depend on tax revenue related to coal mines because I see little hope for them.

    • Aaron

      Companies are BEGGING for CDL truck drivers.

  • Hillbilly

    Why is it that every time there is a UMWA strike or layoffs, WV government sets up extra umemployment lines, etc but not with any other industry layoff or shutdown?? I think this is where Aaron was going.

  • fed up

    All workers, Democrats and Republicans, pay into the Federal Unemployment is a tax their employers pay based on the percentage of their gross pay. It is not a handout, they earned it by going to work.

    • Aaron

      Corporations pay into the unemployment program but no employees do. Employees are entitled to some compensation for working but they do not pay into it. And they cannot on extra entitlements because they work hard.

      • fed up

        right, you cannot receive unemployment if you haven't is based on how much you have worked in previous quarters and employers wouldn't be paying these contributions if you weren't there earning the gross pay....

        • Aaron

          But employees do not pay directly into the fund and employees are only entitled to compensation in certain circumstances.

  • rick

    They only want less governement...for everyone else.

  • wvu999

    I hope the miners who receive this aren't Republicans. Republicans are for less government handouts.

    • Reality

      So only Democrats should get unemployment compensation???

    • James

      Maybe they are democrats and can call Obama and Nicky Joe and thank them for the EPA and carbon capture.
      Nicky has in the past proudly stated his support for the EPA and being on the fore front of the clean air act. If you recall in first year of the Obama administration and cap and trade, Nicky was the radio in Charleston touting how this was good and it would work out just like the EPA and clean air.
      If government wasn't killing jobs, it wouldn't need to be making the handouts your reference.

  • Mason County Contrarian

    For some reason, I chuckle to myself when the Governor says he and his team "went into action".

    Could we be on the cusp of The New Earl Era?

    • Jay

      So democrats are for more jobs?
      Not sure why I am even still a democrat.
      The EPA is a branch of the federal government not congress!

  • Aaron

    "When the coal is selling good, it’s hard to get enough miners. When the price goes down or the demand goes down, those jobs go"

    Do those miners pay additional funds to the state when demand is high? If not, why do they deserve additional help when the demand is low. These individuals choose to work in a volatile industry and as such, they know what is likely to happen when demand is low. As someone who has been where they are, I feel for them but I do not believe they should warrant any additional aid simply because they mine coal.

    • tm

      coal miners are some of the hardest working people in this state. they deserve workforce training if this is a permanent layoff. you just don't get it do you arron?.

      • Aaron

        I would say that you're the one that just does not get it. These individuals work in a volatile industry with the knowledge that they could be laid off at any time and they are well compensated for the work that they do.

        If you drive through many of these coat communities you see an abundance of toys; four wheelers, boats, motorcycles and the like. You also see brand-new pickup trucks for him and SUVs for her totaling thousands upon thousands of dollars in value. When it's going good, it's going really good as evidenced by how most of these matters live their lifestyle.

        If they're not smart enough to plan for their future why should taxpayers be on the hook to do so? Because they work hard?

        Please. You really cannot be that gullible?

        • Ben

          Totally agree with all your posts Aaron. As someone who is a part of the coal industry, it depresses me to say that the coal industry has become DEPRESSED. So now we have funds for training the miners who are, and those who may be laid off. Trained in what? I can tell you for a fact the majority of the money will be spent to train in coal or coal related field. Actually much of the money will be used to line the pockets of those training or pretending to train laid off miners while miners continue to receive unemployment benefits, then extended unemployment benefits - then what? No jobs in the field of training. This is a practice that has got to stop.

          We need to know exactly how that money is allocated and what specific training these unemployed individuals will receive.

          Money will go to facilites such as mining academy at Southern Community College where Gov. Tomblin's wife is the president.

          It's not about training, it's not about helping the unemployed. It's using the system to keep unemployed receiving unemployment check, used to keep money coming into mining academy which is of little benefit to WV or to miners.

        • tm

          sounds to me that arron is a clone of rand paul.

          • Aaron

            I was saying this stuff long before Rand Paul came on the scene thank you very much.

            I'm curious though tm, if we were to set up a private fund in which others could donate a percentage of their pay check to specialty funding on issues like this, how much would you donate of your paycheck?

        • The bookman


          I think you've taken the governor's statement to mean they will receive more benefits than they would otherwise be entitled due to their occupation and impact in local economy. But when you parse his statement out, he is really discussing run of the mill programs in place for any and all unemployed. Yes, they may be guilty of not planning for a catastrophic layoff, but few do. Miners shouldn't be excluded from benefits that other unemployed receive just because the work status is volatile, should they?

          • Aaron

            At no point do I believe they should be excluded from benefits that others are eligible for but by the same token, they should not be eligible for additional benefits either. Comment or no, that often happens.

            All one has to do is see the benefits extended when the stamping plant shut down or when Century Aluminum shut down. Those employees received schooling and retraining paid for as well as extended benefits while they were in school.

            These miners will likely get the same type of benefits and with that, I disagree.

        • Worm

          I'm happy for the coal miners. At least the state cares about them. The State sure as hell did not care about the chemical workers in the Kanawha Valley. In the last 15 years over 20,000 direct and indirect high paying jobs were lost. Where was all the angst over that? Did ever hear any talk on Metronews on that issue? Dead silence. All of those jobs were here without a cracker being involved.

    • Exactly

      What about degree holders in this state who cannot find a job or who work for peanuts? Why not help them as well instead of forcing them out of state? WV will always struggle until they can find a way to keep college graduates.