Bob Murray comments on possible mass layoff


 Thousands of coal miners across the Ohio River Valley may soon be searching for new employment.

On Wednesday, June 29th, Murray Energy Corporation issued Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, or “WARN Act” notices, to 4,400 employees in 6 states, including West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky. The corporation says it is anticipating mass workforce reductions in September, something CEO Bob Murray says is heartbreaking, but, unfortunately, necessary.

“Our coal employment is down 160-thousand people. Our prices are half, and our volume of coal is half. We have to be prepared,” said Murray. “We’re trying to survive in this and compete against these bankrupt companies that have already shed their employee liabilities, and I’m still paying my liabilities.”
Murray says he currently employs 5,300 people, meaning 4,400 layoffs would reduce his workforce by 80 percent. He says the corporation will still continue to sell and ship coal and will fulfill its obligations to its customers. 
Right now, the corporation operates mines in Ohio, Marshall, Monongalia, Harrison, and Marion counties in West Virginia. While Murray hopes to keep as many people employed as possible, he fears the coal industry will never rebuild.
“The coal industry will never come back to what it was. A few years ago, there was over 200-thousand coal miners in West Virginia. Today, there are only 60. There are hardly any coal miners working in southern West Virginia,” said Murray. “These fellows in northern West Virginia, because of our efforts, they’re working–but they won’t for long unless there’s huge changes here.”
In May, Murray Energy announced the closure of Powhatan Number 6 Mine in November. That closure alone could leave 400 people unemployed.
What does all of this mean for the future of coal in Appalachia? It seems that only time will tell.

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