It’s a small victory that had a few hundred miners celebrating Tuesday night in eastern Kanawha County.
They’ve won the first step in their fight against Massey Energy.
A national labor relations judge decided Massey Energy discriminated against hundreds of miners who worked at the Cannelton mine. A Massey spokesperson told us the company disagrees with the decision and will appeal.
Back in 2004, when Massey took over the mine, the judge says those Cannelton workers were refused employment because they were members of a union. Massey has now been ordered to offer jobs to 85 former employees, but Massey says it plans to appeal the decision.
The miners told NewsChannel 3 they finally feel someone heard their argument. Some men still spent time at their local union hall, but none of them are active members now. They still talk about what happened back in 2004 as if it happened yesterday.
The Cannelton Mine is now called the Mammoth Mine. It sits on the Kanawha and Fayette line.
The UMWA stepped in and paid for six months of health insurance for the out of work miners.
“We filled out applications and asked for jobs they wouldn't even talk to us. We delivered applications to their office and they locked the doors on us,” Randel Bowen of Fayette County.
“It was my livelihood and of course losing the job the union come through with being able to retire with what time I was,” Stanley Elkins of Fayette County said.
“It's one of the hardest things in the world when you've got a good paying job a good safe place to work and overnight jerked out from under you,” Harry Jerrell of Clay County said.
In the meantime, these miners say they plan to hold a rally near the mine on Thursday at 10 a.m.