Coal truck drivers at the Justice No. 8 and No. 9 underground mines, located on KY 2425 in Catrons Creek, began a strike on Monday after they claimed owners refused to pay them their wages.
Drivers said they are owed several months wages and will not haul coal or allow anyone else to haul coal until they are paid.
“Justice Coal Company is not paying the truckers,” said Brian Hall, truck driver with Roddy Trucking, of Cawood. “The deal is we’re parking the trucks until we get paid. This goes back several months and I’m talking several thousands of dollars they owe us.”
Hall said Roddy Trucking has been running three to four trucks per day from the mine, hauling coal to a Liggett mining operation. He estimated they have been hauling approximately 1,000 tons of coal per day.
“We just want our money,” said Hall. “Roddy Trucking has to pay for diesel, employees, down costs and it’s hard to operate when you’re not getting paid. Truckers have bills to pay too. We have to provide for our families and eat. You can’t do that if you’re not getting paid.”
Darrell Saylor, owner of Sayco Trucking LLC, of Putney, said he had six trucks running coal from the Justice Mining operation. He said his trucks are also running several thousands of tons of coal per day from the mines.
“We need our money and we’re not going to haul any coal until we get it no matter how long it takes,” said Saylor. “We’ve got fuel bills and insurance we can’t pay. If we don’t get paid we can’t pay our bills. These truckers can’t make it without getting paid. Justice knows this ain’t right. They know we can’t operate without money — nobody can. I don’t know why they are doing this.”
Some of the truckers suggested local businesses are suffering from lack of payment for supplies purchased by the mining company.
“I think they’ve finally just paid enough to get a couple loads of roof bolts so the mine can run. Now there’s just nobody to haul it,” said Tony Marvin, of Wallins Creek, an associate of Roddy Trucking.
Tommy Williams, truck driver for SAD Trucking, of Dayhoit, said he just “wishes the truckers would get paid so everybody could get back to work.”
“This is hurting everybody — their families, everybody involved in this,” said Williams. “Work is hard to get anyway and this is making it really hard. C&R Trucking, of Salyersville, also has three trucks hauling out of here. Until our companies get paid, we don’t work. We have families too.”
Hall said Justice Mining recently purchased seven or eight coal trucks to use for hauling coal, but those trucks are also being blocked from entering the mine site.
He said company drivers did volunteer to stop their trucks.
“We ain’t letting nobody up in this holler to haul coal out,” said Hall.
Efforts to contact Justice officials in person at the local site and attempts to call the company’s corporate office were unsuccessful.
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510 or at firstname.lastname@example.org