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The Day After: Workers Seek Assistance « Back to Search Results

By 8 a.m. Tuesday morning, the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services was swamped. The line of computers facing the front windows were completely full as workers from Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr mines filed unemployment claims online. A crowd of just about as many waited behind them. Workforce staff bustled through the room, answering questions and doing what they could to help.

A former Belle Ayr worker waiting in line, who wished to remain anonymous, ribbed his friends at the computers, joking they were taking too long and making the rest of them wait. His good humor and laughs belied the mood in the room, but he shrugged. What can he do? He’s in shock just like the rest of them. He had been on days off but heard immediately from co-workers Monday afternoon around 2:30 p.m. They’d told him the power was shut off and workers were escorted off the premises and were told that there was no money to pay them or keep operations going.

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Fast Fact Image

Upton is located 70 miles east of thirteen open pit coal mines, including the Thunder Basin Coal Mine, the nation's largest. You can arrange to have guided tours to learn more about this critical industry in northeast Wyoming. Upton and Newcastle are on the railroad right-of-way that ships most of the coal to midwestern and eastern markets. There is an average of 75 Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad trains that pass through Weston County daily. This is a train watchers heaven!