Blackjewel Ordered to Pay $800,000 in Back Wages to Miners
The U.S. Department of Labor has ordered the former owner of the Belle Ayr and Eagle Butte mines to pay about 500 employees nearly $800,000 in back wages for the last week of June, according to federal court documents filed by the Wyoming U.S. Attorney's Office on Monday.
U.S. Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia filed the civil complaint against Blackjewel, LLC, and related companies for paying employees less than the minimum wage, not paying them, and not paying overtime in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, according to the complaint and a proposed consent decree between the government and the companies.
The proposed consent decree pegged the amount owed at $793,847 from June 24 to July 1. Blackjewel is responsible for tax payments.
On July 1, the Milton, W.Va-based Blackjewel filed for Chapter 11 business reorganization bankruptcy protection, closed the mines in Wyoming and about 30 mines and other operations in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia.
The mines were closed and the employees were sent home.
Monday, Contura Energy, which sold the Wyoming mines to Blackjewel in 2017 but still holds the mining permits, announced its sale of the mines Eagle Specialty Materials, LLC. The announcement did not say when the employees will return to work.