Amidst widespread coal layoffs throughout the Powder River Basin in recent months and an industry rocked by plummeting prices and decreased demand, Decker Mine reverses course, offering a but of good news for the future of western coal.
After laying off nearly 30% of its workforce earlier this month, all 98 furloughed Decker Coal Company employees returned this morning after 19 days without work, just as Leonard Wolff, general manager, had promised would happen when the layoffs first took place.
In early May, Decker had joined the growing number of PRB coal mines to make work force reductions in response to weakening market conditions for coal during COVID-19. On May 8, the company announced it was furloughing 98 miners from its Decker Coal Mine in southern Montana until May 26, citing decreased demand in the wake of the pandemic. The difference was, however, as Wolff told County 17 in a conversation two weeks ago, that the layoffs were temporary and Decker would be bringing the employees back by June for scheduled production.