West Virginia’s richest family steps in to save Birmingham plant, over 200 Alabama jobs
Bluestone Resources Inc. in recent days announced the purchase of the ERP Compliant Coke, LLC plant in Birmingham, a move which the company says will save over 200 jobs in the area.
Bluestone is owned by the Justice family and is led by Jay Justice, son of Governor Jim Justice (R-WV).
According to a press release from Bluestone, the plant was in critical danger of closure prior to the purchase.
The plant, which is poised to celebrate its centennial anniversary next year, is an important economic driver in the community, employing 210 workers, the majority of whom are members of the United Steelworkers of America.
“This deal is a great development, not only for Bluestone and our great West Virginia employees, but also for the people of Alabama and the more than 200 women and men who work at the plant every day. I’m really pleased that we were able to come in and preserve it for years to come,” Jay Justice said in a statement.
“I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know some of the people who work at the plant,” he added. “They’re great, hardworking people, and I couldn’t be prouder to lend our name to their operation. At a time when other coal mining companies are filing for bankruptcy, we’re employing hundreds and putting people back to work.”
The Jefferson County facility produces high-quality metallurgical coke, a key component in the operation of foundries, blast furnaces and the production of metals such as iron and steel. Met coal is used in the production of coke.
“Our workers are thrilled,” Plant Manager Bill Potter commented. “To be clear, this plant would have closed soon due to a dwindling coal inventory and inoperable ovens that are necessary to manufacture Coke. With Bluestone stepping up to the plate, we can sustain our coal inventory and repair the ovens – adding about 40 more jobs. It’s truly a blessing to be able to continue supporting our great employees and provide new opportunities for more Alabamans.”
A representative for the employees concurred.
Lonnie McDaniel, president of Local Union Number 12014 of the United Steelworkers of America, said, “On behalf of the United Steelworkers of America, I want to commend Bluestone Resources and ERP Compliant Coke for working in earnest to find a solution to protect these jobs. It’s important to note that it’s not just the great people who work here that will benefit, but also the surrounding businesses and the entire community.”
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn