Coal mining in Tuscaloosa County is taking a hit from poor market conditions and hundreds of employees with Walter Energy’s mining operations in Brookwood could soon be out of a job.
Several employees with Walter Energy Inc. received a letter on May 15th warning about potential cut backs at mines #5 and #7, as well as, the central shop. Word of the potential lay-offs quickly spread through out the town.
“Anytime that there are several hundred people laid off that’s always going to be a concern to us, we don’t want to lose our neighbors we want them to stay here in our community,” said Alix Hatter, Business Manager of Henry’s Burgers and Cream in Brookwood.
Hatter told ABC 33/40 those lay-offs could have a direct affect on their business.
“They’re a long standing company and they’re very important to our daily operations,” said Hatter.
William Stanhouse, with Walter Energy Inc., said around 370 people could lose their job but the letter is only a warning.
In an email, Stanhouse wrote, “A WARN notice informs employees of anticipated Reductions in Force, in accordance with the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act. This does not necessarily mean any anticipated layoffs will occur. In this instance, however, we expect these reductions to take effect if market conditions do not improve.”
If market conditions do not improve, the letter states, the terminations will begin around July 14th and further terminations are possible.