33 employees at Carter Machinery in Mercer County are laid off. We are told this is due to the ongoing deterioration of the region’s coal market. The layoffs happened on Thursday April 14, 2016 at their facility in Green Valley. The company administrator hopes employees impacted will be able to get jobs within the company, outside the coal field.
With the recent decline in the coal industry, we are wondering how businesses are doing that work closely with coal mines. Melanie Protti-Lawrence is the co-owner of Lawrence Brothers Incorporated in Bluefield, Virginia. Her business is a heavy metal fabricator that manufactures anything made out of steel primarily for underground coal mining machinery. Lawrence said the business has been around for 45 years and the decline in the coal industry has hit them hard.
Lawrence said, “Probably for the last 3 years we’ve been at an average at 20 employees. Just this week, we’ve taken that down to 19 and unfortunately had to layoff some of our most important and core guys because we don’t have enough work to keep them busy.”
Back in 2009, she said they had 48 employees. Now the few workers there can only put in 32 hours.
Lawrence said, “We as a business really need to re-invent ourselves. Unfortunately with the decline of coal, that has put us in that position that we need to do that and we need to do that quick. But overall, we are very blessed to still be in business.”
People in the community offer prayers for people involved in the coal industry.
James Rathman said, “I just think to pray for this area and to pray and come upon the people that have these abilities to start the corporations and made the money with the corporations for the Lord to touch them and to see it in their heart to put the money back into this area.”