When Mitt Romney campaigned at an Ohio coal mine earlier this month, he might not have realized that the miners were forced to be there — without pay — by the owner, Murray Energy.
That’s according to accounts from multiple coal miners, who sent anonymous letters to a local radio station criticizing Murray Energy for allegedly requiring all workers to take the day off, forgo pay, and attend a Romney campaign event.
“Just for the record, if we did not go, we knew what would happen,” wrote one miner.
In an interview with a talk radio show host, Murray Energy CFO Rob Moore denied allegations that workers were “forced,” choosing instead to use the word “mandatory.”
“Our managers communicated to our workforce that the attendance at the Romney event was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend,” Moore said. He confirmed that pay was docked for all the workers.
In another email read on air, a miner expressed frustration with being “forced” to attend the event, characterizing a culture of “intimidation” within Murray:
“No one likes to be forced to do anything, let alone without pay. I recall hearing a caller claiming that his $100,000 plus Murray salary was grounds for crapping if Murray says crap, or eating broccoli if Murray says to eat it. I say to that man: Many of us, though well educated or hard workers ourselves, do not make half, a third, or sometimes even a quarter of that pay. Had the event not been mandated, most of us probably would have still attended. We are grateful to have the chance to listen to our leaders or potential leaders first hand and to be a part of political history in the making. We do not appreciate being intimidated into exchanging our time for nothing.”
Murray Energy is perhaps best known for operating the Crandall Canyon mine in Utah that collapsed in 2007, killing six miners and two rescue personnel. After that tragedy, reportersuncovered thousands of violations resulting in millions of dollars in fines at various mines owned by the company.
Bob Murray is also an outspoken climate denier who is known for his fact-free rants on global warming. Here’s one:
“The fraudulent individuals around the world who have attempted to capitalize on the promotion of their theory that the Earth is warming are now finding out that it’s just not true. … They did it for what I call crony capitalism – to make money off global warming. … Albert Gore has made hundreds of millions of dollars over his hoax, and now they’re finding it’s simply not true.
… So it’s changed, and the vast majority of Americans today know now that this was a hoax and it was done to get money from America for other countries for people in America to make money off of it. … Now some want to create a commodity market in carbon tax credits. So now you’ve got Wall Street and all these commodity brokers in the United States, they want to see the legislation because it creates a market to trade … carbon credits. So all of these people, for reasons not very pure, not very honorable and certainly not honest, are perpetuating the fraud. People like me, they called me a skeptic. Now I’m right … and I see America moving beyond that issue.”
According to figures from the Center for Responsive Politics, Murray Energy has donated more than $900,000 to politicians in the last year — all of them Republicans.
And now the company has donated more than money. It’s donated workers.