I’m Rory Wallett and this layoff has affected me in many ways. I have been fortunate that this layoff has affected me in both positive and negative ways. In the positive ways I’ve seen my community come together and support each other like no other. I’ve been able to become good friends with people across this nation and been able to strengthen my bonds with my coworkers. On the negative side I’ve had to worry about where my next paycheck will come from. Because of that I’ve had to worry about how I’m going to feed my four children I’m going to keep a roof over my family’s head how I’m going to take care of doctor bills for my wife’s rheumatoid arthritis how I’m going to take care of my own diabetes. Multiple times I have been brought to tears about the horrible stories the people affected by this layoff are living now. I beg all of you to realize if this isn’t about 1,700 families losing their jobs, this is about a nation losing up to 40% of its power equitability. This is about a nation who will lose a sustainable power source that cannot be replaced.
My name is Nathan Walker, I live in Kentucky. I worked at the D-21 mine in Cumberland KY. I had just taken a few days off from work to take my kids out of town. I came back to work Monday to be sent back home. I had no answers of any kind. We were just told we would be off the week which was the Fourth of July week. Nobody knows yet. My last paycheck bounced putting me 2088 in the hole at the bank. I was not prepared for this. Many of us here live paycheck to paycheck. My child support is behind and I just lost my car today. I don’t really know what to do. We have been put in a place where we can’t even afford to go work somewhere else. I can’t get a job without a vehicle and cannot get one without a job. I’ve been having to go to friends’ houses to eat for the past few days because I finally just ran out of money. I usually keep my kids but not been able to get them for the past week because I don’t have much to feed them. If something is not done a lot of people are going to be so far at the bottom, they will never be able to get back a head.
This is my families’ testimonial about the recent idling/shutting down of the mines. This shut down has hit my family hard. The father of my children went from working 6 days a week making $2,500+ every 2 weeks to not seeing a dime that is owed to him. He spent hours upon hours away from his children and me to provide a decent life for us. He would pull doubles and do any job that was asked of him to do his part in keeping the coal running. He absolutely loves being a coal miner and being underground. But what he doesn’t love and what we as his family DO NOT appreciate is how he was done by the mines that he worked for. Sent home without an explanation. Withheld pay. No answers with tons of questions. At this point our little nest egg is all but about $50 from being obsolete. After paying our most important utility bills and buying what groceries we could we are now out of money. We have many larger bills such as car insurance and a house payment and necessities for our home that we will not be able to afford. We have no idea, no clue what we are supposed to do or how we are supposed to make it. We have a 4-year-old son that deserves the world and that doesn’t deserve the possibility of being uprooted from the home that he loves and cherishes. We also are expecting a little girl in December. And because we were waiting until I hit at least 5 months in pregnancy before buying what she will need we have absolutely nothing bought for her. There is just too much stress and worry that my family and I don’t deserve. Although we like many other families had nothing to do with these mines shutting down we are all paying the price. While the higher ups still have cash in their pocket and can go.
I have been working with the coal industry for 20 years. I worked for Peabody for many years and in 2016 I was suddenly laid off along with over 500 others I had over 80 job applications across the country with no luck McDonald’s told me that I was to over qualified I heard that multiple times all I cared about was putting food on the table for my family luckily I was called back to work for Peabody 6 months later I left Peabody for something different but I am a 5th generation miner it’s what I am good at so I took a job with Black jewel only to find myself in the same situation however this time is more impacting emotionally and mentally than before as I had issues getting my money because my bank didn’t honor my check from black jewl and now it’s payday and I didn’t get my money owed for working prior to the shutdown my bank is negative creditors don’t understand what the situation is nor have sympathy so much of everything I’ve got will be either sold for whatever I can get or taken the emotional impact it has on my wife and children because of my stress and anger. They tell us that we have access to training however nice going to school don’t put food on the table or pay any bills so that is really not an option the community is based on coal mining wages so the price of anything is based on that should I have the opportunity to find work the impact of the financial crisis the closing of the mine will take several years to overcome Travis M