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Significant layoffs expected at Murray Energy mines

WHEELING, W.Va. — Some local coal miners may begin the new year by looking for new jobs, as Murray Energy Corp. officials confirmed reports of impending layoffs and scheduling changes.

A union official at Murray Energy Corp.’s Marshall County Mine said Wednesday he expected “significant” layoffs to occur today, although Murray Energy did not go into specifics about the number or timing of layoffs.

“Murray Energy Corp. confirms that certain work force adjustments and scheduling changes, made in the normal course of business, are necessary to reflect the current coal marketplace, which has been destroyed by President Barack Obama and his supporters, including the Sierra Club; the increased utilization of natural gas to generate electricity; and the extremely excessive coal severance tax in the state of West Virginia,” company spokesman Gary Broadbent said. “We are unable to discuss the details of these adjustments.”

Ryan Sparks, vice president of United Mine Workers of America Local No. 1638, said about 700 union miners have been on the job recently at the operation, formerly known as the McElroy Mine while under the ownership of Consol Energy. He said he believes the layoffs will occur at multiple Murray Energy operations across the nation.

“We’re not exactly sure how many. We have heard it will be significant,” Sparks said.

In May, Murray laid off a total of 754 miners at its Marshall County and Ohio County mines in West Virginia’s Northern Panhandle and its Powhatan No. 6 and Century mines in East Ohio.

Company information states Murray Energy employs about 7,000 workers at 25 different sites in Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois and Utah.

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