Union: Nearly 600 layoffs in works at Murray Energy mines

Coal miner generic

WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) – Union officials said Thursday that nearly 600 coal miners could lose their jobs at Murray Energy Corp. mines in West Virginia and Ohio, dealing another blow to the beaten-down industry and Appalachian region.

According to the United Mine Workers of America, 532 of the planned layoffs would occur at five Murray mines in northern West Virginia. About 82 to 125 miners would lose jobs at each mine.

Fifty-four layoffs were planned for the mine in Powhatan Point, Ohio.

Murray did not immediately confirm the job losses. A statement by Murray spokesman Gary Broadbent discussed impending changes and so-called workforce adjustments, which typically means job losses.

Broadbent said changes are necessary amid current coal mining market conditions. The company laid the blame on President Barack Obama’s administration, the surging use of natural gas for electricity and West Virginia’s tax on unearthing coal.

Robert Murray, the company’s namesake, has been one of the most outspoken critics of Obama’s policies, including requirements to limit carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants.

The regulations are among many factors that have led to Appalachian coal’s downturn in recent years, ranging from low natural gas prices to competition from such states as Wyoming and Illinois, which have easier-to-reach coal seams.

According to company news releases, Murray has laid off more than 1,000 people from its West Virginia mines since April 2014. About 250 Murray miners have lost jobs in Ohio, while more than 320 have faced layoffs in Illinois.

Murray has used the job losses in West Virginia to rally for a cut to the state’s coal severance tax, even as the state hits a budget shortfall of about $250 million because of a drop in revenues from both coal and natural gas severance taxes.

Murray bought West Virginia’s five northern underground mines from CONSOL Energy in December 2013. The northern mines have remained more productive than those in the southern part of the state.


Information from: The Intelligencer
(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

WKBN 27 First News provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. No links will be permitted. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s