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Coal Workers Say Murray Energy "Coerces" Them to Make GOP Donations

“You’ve got a great boss,” Mitt Romney proclaimed to a crowd of coal miners at a campaign rally in August.

He was referring to Robert Murray, the CEO of Murray Energy, one of the largest coal mining operators in the country.

For Romney, that statement was particularly true. According to accounts from multiple coal miners, employees were forced to attend the event without pay. “Just for the record, if we did not go, we knew what would happen,” said one miner in a letter to a local radio station. Weeks later, Romney’s campaign featured images of the coal miners in a pro-coal ad. (The Obama campaign hit back this week with an ad claiming Romney used coal workers as “props”).

But that was just the tip of the iceberg. An expose from New Republic Senior Editor Alec MacGillis shows that Murray Energy is doing far more than requiring employees to spend uncompensated time at campaign events — the company is actually requiring them to donate to GOP candidates like Romney:

The accounts of two sources who have worked in managerial positions at the firm, and a review of letters and memos to Murray employees, suggest that coercion may also explain Murray staffers’ financial support for Romney. Murray, it turns out, has for years pressured salaried employees to give to the Murray Energy political action committee (PAC) and to Republican candidates chosen by the company. Internal documents show that company officials track who is and is not giving. The sources say that those who do not give are at risk of being demoted or missing out on bonuses, claims Murray denies.

The Murray sources, who requested anonymity for fear of retribution, came forward separately. But they painted similar pictures of the fund-raising operation. “There’s a lot of coercion,” says one of them. “I just wanted to work, but you feel this constant pressure that, if you don’t contribute, your job’s at stake. You’re compelled to do this whether you want to or not.” Says the second: “They will give you a call if you’re not giving. . . . It’s expected you give Mr. Murray what he asks for.”

This spring, Murray organized a fundraiser for Mitt Romney, eventually bundling more than a million and half dollars for the candidate. According to the New Republic, employees of Murray Energy have donated more than $1.4 million to Republican candidates — with $120,000 raised for Romney this campaign season alone.

While employees say Murray does not explicitly force them to make donations, he makes it very clear what could happen if they don’t contribute some of their salary to Republicans. “We have been insulted by every salaried employee who does not support our efforts,” he wrote in one 2012 letter obtained by the New Republic.

And in a 2011 letter to company managers, Murray alluded to potential consequences if employees did not donate: “Please see that our salaried employees ‘step up,’ for their own sakes and those of their employees.”

Other national candidates supported by the “coerced” donations of coal workers include House Speaker John Boehner, Scott Brown, Rand Paul, David Vitter, and Congress’ most aggressive climate denier, Jim Inhofe. “Hopefully you will support every one of these friends of coal,” wrote Murray to his employees.

Murray, who is a fierce defender of the coal industry, is also a fierce climate denier. He has called climate change a “theory” and has blamed climate scientists for supposedly “perpetuating fraud.”

As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney once proclaimed that coal plants “kill people” and established a “no regrets” plan to combat global warming. Today, with massive financial backing from the fossil fuel industry, Romney says that “we don’t know” what’s causing global warming. And in the presidential debate this week, he proclaimed “I like coal.”

Now we know why.

by Anonymousreply 411/09/2012

None of this shit surprises me anymore. And still people would vote for this asshole.

by Anonymousreply 110/08/2012

The majority of those miners are probably teabagger repuglicans anyway. Their being exploited and "coerced" by the company is just a miniscule indication of worse things to come should Rmoney steal the election and may just bring them to their senses to set aside their bigotry and vote in favor of their own best interests.

If not, fuck 'em.

by Anonymousreply 210/08/2012

After Obama reelection coal company CEO reads prayer to staff, announces layoffs.

Washington Post By Steven Mufson, Friday, November 9, 7:16 AM

For the chairman and chief executive of Murray Energy, an Ohio-based coal company, the reelection of President Obama was no cause for celebration. It was a time for prayer – and layoffs.

Robert E. Murray read a prayer to a group of company staff members on the day after the election, lamenting the direction of the country and asking: “Lord, please forgive me and anyone with me in Murray Energy Corp. for the decisions that we are now forced to make to preserve the very existence of any of the enterprises that you have helped us build.”

On Wednesday, Murray also laid off 54 people at American Coal, one of his subsidiary companies, and 102 at Utah American Energy, blaming a “war on coal” by the administration of President Barack Obama.”

Murray Energy is the country’s largest privately owned coal mining company, with about 3,000 employees producing about 30 million tons of bituminous coal a year, according to its Web site. The company was the subject of an article in the New Republic that said the company had forced miners to attend a Romney campaign speech in southeastern Ohio in August. Murray denied the account. The New Republic also reported that Murray Energy employees have given more than $1.4 million to Republican candidates for federal office since 2007.

Murray has also been a target of environmentalists. Notably, the company has spilled coal slurry into a creek on seven different occasions. Murray’s prayer from Wednesday first appeared on the Web site of the Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register. The newspaper said Murray had supplied his text. The Post confirmed its legitimacy with a company spokesman, Gary M. Broadbent.

Here is the full text of the prayer: Dear Lord: The American people have made their choice. They have decided that America must change its course, away from the principals of our Founders. And, away from the idea of individual freedom and individual responsibility. Away from capitalism, economic responsibility, and personal acceptance. We are a Country in favor of redistribution, national weakness and reduced standard of living and lower and lower levels of personal freedom. My regret, Lord, is that our young people, including those in my own family, never will know what America was like or might have been. They will pay the price in their reduced standard of living and, most especially, reduced freedom. The takers outvoted the producers. In response to this, I have turned to my Bible and in II Peter, Chapter 1, verses 4-9 it says, “To faith we are to add goodness; to goodness, knowledge; to knowledge, self control; to self control, perseverance; to perseverance, godliness; to godliness, kindness; to brotherly kindness, love.” Lord, please forgive me and anyone with me in Murray Energy Corp. for the decisions that we are now forced to make to preserve the very existence of any of the enterprises that you have helped us build. We ask for your guidance in this drastic time with the drastic decisions that will be made to have any hope of our survival as an American business enterprise. Amen.

by Anonymousreply 311/09/2012

Should be illegal. We need to make it so.

by Anonymousreply 411/09/2012
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