A mass layoff at Long Branch #25 mine leaves 65 workers without a job.
Workers learned about the mass layoff on Tuesday, just one day after the company filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN).
The WARN Act was filed with the Workforce West Virginia Federal Labor Department on Monday, March 30.
Tough economic times are to blame for the mass layoffs, according Long Branch Energy general manager Greg Patterson.
Patterson says that Eastern Associated Coal lost some orders for the coal Long Branch Energy was mining at their #25 mine.
“It was metallurgical coal, which is used in making steel,” he explained.
Patterson said the events which led up to the layoffs were unforeseen and did not allow for more advance posting of the WARN act filing.
A mass layoff is defined by the Department of Labor as “where an employee lays off either between 50 and 499 full-time workers at a single site of employment and that number is 33% of the number of full-time workers at the single site of employment.”
Of the 80 workers employed at the Long Branch facility, seven are being kept on as a skeleton crew in the event that the mine were to re-open, eight were eligible to be transferred to other company-owned mines, while 65 workers remain without a job.
Long Branch Energy also operates three other mines in Boone County – the number 18 mine, number 23 mine, and number 27 mine are all located in Wharton.
Patterson says the company has ceased operations at its number 25 mine, though a seven-member skeleton crew will stay at the mine to keep it on standby in the event the facility re-opens.
The Long Branch number 25 mine had been in operation since August 2004.