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Not all Wyoming miners offered old jobs back plan to return

GILLETTE, Wyo. – Not all furloughed workers offered their jobs back plan to return to work at two Wyoming coal mines.

Mine mechanic Christopher Orchard was among over 500 workers furloughed when West Virginia-based Blackjewel filed for bankruptcy July 1.

Another coal company hired Orchard within two weeks. Many other Blackjewel employees also found other work.

On Friday, a subsidiary of Alabama-based FM Coal bought the Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr mines. Orchard says he got an offer to return to work at Belle Ayr.

Orchard tells the Gillette News-Record he’s offered a 4% raise but the pay is still better at Cloud Peak Energy.

FM Coal subsidiary Eagle Specialty Materials promises to pay wages owed from before the bankruptcy but Orchard says he’s still waiting to collect his back pay.

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