CUMBERLAND, Ky. — Sitting in lawn chairs plopped in the middle of train tracks, two coal miners smoked and chewed tobacco to pass the time. There’s been little else to do here for the past four weeks, except wave at motorists who honk in support of these homegrown heroes waging a national struggle over workers’ rights.
Since Chris Rowe and Chris Sexton were laid off from their mining jobs this summer along with 300 co-workers, they have been camped out here in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, blocking a train car full of coal from going to market. Their protest is against coal company Blackjewel, which halted operations in July without settling its final salary obligations to Rowe, Sexton and an estimated 1,800 other workers across the country. But it’s also become a declaration against corporate bankruptcy laws that they say deprioritize workers’ interests.
“The same situation may have happened to others, but we are the ones making a stand,” said Rowe, 35, who was laid off days after he purchased his first house. “We mined the coal and broke our backs to get that coal, so that coal belongs to us until they pay for it.”
Blackjewel is part of the latest spate of coal producers to file for bankruptcy, a trend that has lingered under President Trump as the nation’s appetite for coal has continued to shrink. The Trump administration’s rollback of environmental regulations implemented under Obama have failed to spark a revival in communities like Cumberland that formed his political base during the 2016 election.
Cumberland is located in Harlan County, where Trump won 85 percent of the vote. But these miners say their fight isn’t a political one. At the camp, there is an informal policy against speaking about Trump or partisan issues, underscoring the president’s continued popularity in areas where the local economy has continued to suffer.
“That is the main reason we have gotten as far as we’ve got now; it’s because we have kept the nonsense down,” Rowe said, referring to the nation’s divisive political debate.
The answers to these, and many other questions, are "Blowing in the Wind".Wasnt one of Donalds pet peeves with Obama (among many that he still has with Obama..it's almost like an obsession), the amount of time Obama spent golfing during the obama administration years?
But yet..Donald's golfing currently FAR exceeds Obamas golf outings. LOL
Also..where is the promised border wall?
I thought Obama care was supposed to have been repealed by now?
Why are so many critical cabinet positions still vacant?
Why are coal miners actually LOSING jobs at this point?
DId he actually state that he's never heard of a Cat 5 hurricane hitting the USA?, yet MULTIPLE Cat 5's have caused damage to the USA..just during his administration?