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.