500 Miners Out of Work in Union County

Published 05/13 2014 04:30PM

Updated 05/13 2014 04:43PM

Greg Greenwell has been a coal miner since he was 18 and has been at Highland Mine for the past 8 years. He says accidents happen around a coal mine, but he has never heard of one like the one that happened last week at the Highland coal washer plant.
"What I've heard the floor gave out. It came down on another floor just like a sandwich and ended up on the bottom floor," said Greenwell. Workers heard the structure cracking and were able to get out before it collapsed.
The repair is expected to take at least six weeks. Which puts coal miners out of the job. Greenwell says he's been through enough layoffs to expect something like this, but he's worried about the new hires. "I feel for them because some of them don't save their money and some do. It's a challenge for a young couple because you're young and you don't think you're going to get laid off. Yet it happens to the best of them."

Greenwell says the Highland Mine has brought miners and their families from eastern Kentucky and West Viriginia. He says it will be more difficult for the new hires to survive the lay off. "That's who we all hope to get back so their families can get their life back on track."
Greenwell says although the circumstances are frustrating he approves of how the coal company is handling the situation. Patriot Coal anticipates Highland Mine to be up an running by June 30th.

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