Walter spokesperson William Stanhouse told Coal Age that Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) notices were issued May 15 to 370 of its nearly 1,700 workers at the Jim Walter Resources complex near Bessemer.
The federally mandated letters were given to individuals at its No. 7 mine, No. 5 preparation plant and central shop, citing a July 17 effective date.
Not receiving notices but also up for possible layoff are staff at the company’s central mine office and central supply facility.
“This (the WARN notices) is in compliance with federal law,” Stanhouse said. “That does not mean that we have to lay these people off. In this instance, it is likely if market conditions do not improve.”
All unionized workers that have received potential layoff notices are eligible to apply for other Walter Energy positions as they become available, per the group’s labor agreement with the United Mine Workers of America.
Stanhouse also confirmed that the staff cut is only that – a reduction in staff, at least at this time. No mine idlings or facility stoppages are planned. Decisions have not yet been made on any potential reductions in work hours, he added.
Walter officials have not indicated the length for any potential layoffs. Earlier this year, however, a 38-worker reduction at the company’s mines in March was a permanent slice, according to local media outlets.