Layoffs at coal processing plant - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Layoffs at coal processing plant

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More than a dozen workers at a coal processing plant in McDowell County have been laid off.

Affected workers say that Russian-owned Mechel Bluestone Coal Company in Keystone issued the layoffs on Friday. Since late-December, a total of 32 workers have been let go.

"They haven't told us anything," says displaced worker James Adams.

Laid off workers at the Bluestone Coal Company plant in Keystone picked up their final paychecks on Tuesday. They tell us that only five non-management workers are still employed at the coal processing center.

"I haven't heard exactly why, they have mentioned power problems, or something, that was it," says Kevin Blevins, who was laid off on December 27.

"The way it is looking they are going to shut the plant down. They are just loading cars, that is why they kept the five men for," says Adams

The plant was purchased by a Russian mining giant Mechel in 2009. Plant supervisors refused to speak to us about the layoffs and repeated attempts to contact the corporate office in Beckley were unsuccessful. In December, Mechel announced plans to open a new 12 million dollar, coal processing plant in Keystone.

"The pay is pretty close to the same. I believe they are trying to get rid of the union," says Adams

Adams says that workers were being paid an average of twenty-four dollars an hour. He had worked at the plant for the past six years.

"It's going to be tough until we get another job. Everybody has got bills to pay," says Adams.

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