Miners Say They Were Forced To Attend Romney Campaign Event Without Pay: ‘We Knew What Would Happen’

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.”

Listen to the entire segment here:

Romney campaigned with Bob Murray, CEO of the company, back in May.

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, reporters uncovered 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.

80 Responses to Miners Say They Were Forced To Attend Romney Campaign Event Without Pay: ‘We Knew What Would Happen’

  1. TK Vanacoro says:

    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.

    Is this guy freakin’ serious? Not forced, but mandatory? Isn’t that the definition of a difference without a distinction?

  2. james buchanan says:

    I’m Mitt Romney and I approve this method,mandatory participation.Just wait till I’m president ,I’ll involve the whole country.Here’s to American exceptionalism!!!

  3. Jo Hargis says:

    Why, golly, that’s right up Mitt Romney’s alley! Anything for big business that pays the ol’ payola into his coffers!

  4. Chris says:

    Sickening. But then again, contempt for workers is what the Republican party is all about.

  5. Doug Bostrom says:

    And the big problem is labor unions, never forget it. ;-)

    What happens when you try to negotiate as an individual against a large organization? You lose.

  6. That’s the true ultra-right view of freedom: the freedom to force underlings to do your personal bidding for your personal benefit.

    Anything that impedes their personal power over others robs them of their God-given “freedom.” Like civil rights laws. Or labor laws.

  7. catman306 says:

    That’s easy. If it was ‘forced’, they would have taken the miners in chains.

  8. catman306 says:

    Or environmental laws, or laws that limit profits for the greater good of the population.

    Sadly, in my experience, you are correct.

  9. Merrelyn Emery says:

    And the other thing that happens over time when you start to believe the nonsense about the supremacy of private enterprise and the individual is that individuals become so dissociated that they and their society lose the capacity to act as a cooperative collective – look at the response(?) to climate change, ME

  10. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Yes, and who has swallowed it, hook, line and sinker? ME

  11. McGroarty says:

    Laborers, as a condition of work, forced to support politicians of an organization’s choosing at their own expense? This is unprecedented. We should all oppose anything like it.

  12. Coyne Tibbets says:

    Someone should explain carefully to Mr. Moore that the mandatory rules requiring him to buy safety equipment, don’t “force” him to do anything.

    After which I bet his interpretation of the meaning of “mandatory” changes abruptly; from, “Gee I don’t see what the big deal is;” to rabid foaming at the mouth.

  13. Barbara says:

    Our future under Romney?

  14. robota says:

    I think Crandall Canyon Mine is in Utah, not Illinois.

  15. Mike says:

    Isn’t this a pretty clear violation of labor law??? How can you make it “mandatory” to attend an event and then dock the workers’ pay???

  16. kacy says:

    If coal is so wonderful for the workers how come they live in the most impoverished areas in the U.S.? And they better hope that they don’t repeal The Affordable Care Act, so they can treat that black lung.

  17. Matt says:

    Our managers communicated to our workforce that the attendance at the Romney event was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend

    FFS, the GOP really is hell-bent on insisting that words don’t actually mean things, aren’t they…

  18. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    I was waiting to see what Mulga would have to say. Or is he just going to let the actions of the 1% speak for themselves.

  19. Dennis von Itter says:

    Yes Sir, it’s someone’s Mitty. I don’t think it’s someone nice.

  20. Leif says:

    Looks like it is mandatory that the Nation follow the path of ecocide profits as well. Thank you GOP and the associated Corpro/People enablers. No one can accuse you of not putting your money where your mouth is. I would like to see some humanity factored in however.

  21. Bill Moore says:

    Having lived in the coal fields of West Virginia and had miners for friends, I would love to have them find something else to do besides mining coal. A lot of them have great technical skills with equipment, electricity, welding. Surely we can come up with things for them to do that won’t kill them with ‘black lung,’ methane and coal dust explosions and rock falls.

  22. JFM says:

    If this isn’t precisely the fascism that the GOP has been secretly yearning for while accusing Democrats of being fascists, well I don’t know what is.

    For Romney to want to look like he’s ‘in good’ with the blue collar crowd is laughable beyond belief.

  23. Rob Moore says:

    It’s not legitimate forcible rape if it’s just MANDATORY SEX. Right guys?

  24. niiki says:

    Typical of republicans, nothing would surprise me anymore!!!

  25. Mick Gaughan says:

    Now, now, forced is when they make you do it. Mandatory is when you have to do it or get fired. Either way, you get miners at the event and Citizens United says that the company is in the right to do such things.

    Ah, the Corporations will make all wonderful with the sunshine coming out of their asses.

  26. murat says:

    that what romney is!

  27. Chris says:

    The saddest part of this is the line from the miner “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.”

    Most of the miners will probably voter for Mitt and the Republicans against their own interests. Yes, they may be able to claim that Mitt is in favor of coal but they will forget that he is also in favor of total deregulation. The mines will cave in, the miners will get black lung, their families will be impoverished but the owners will continue to rake in millions.

    Mother Jones is turning in her grave.

  28. sandyh says:

    It’s bad enough you are forced to attend but they make you pay for the privilege? You just know that money went towards the owner’s generous contribution to Romney. It’s extortion.

  29. Terry Grinnalds says:

    This is why we will always need unions.

  30. MaryinChicago says:

    As I just posted on the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s website, “Isn’t this ILLEGAL? If it ISN’T illegal, shouldn’t it BE illegal?”

  31. Leif says:

    Every attendee’s contribution to the cause fighting against their well being. “Blackmail” might also apply.

  32. Joe Romm says:

    Yes, thx.

  33. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Yes, but who is about to change your reality when the ghost of the great Ronnie R still stalks the land, ME

  34. John Boston says:

    Huge reason to unionize and promote collective bargaining rights .This is pathetic and it seems that more and more people do not understand the importance of unions and why we need them . We need to eliminate this behavior from corporate moguls and strengthen the middle class. These minors rights were definitely violated and for them to feel threatened on any job in this day and age just doesn’t cut it . Shame on Murray Energy .

  35. Dave says:

    I can’t understand why one of the workers said that they’d be there anyway. Don’t they know what the GOP wants to do to them? Destroy their unions, deregulate the industry and all to the workers detriment. I will never understand why blue collar workers vote Republican. They hate workers and treat them like crap. They only care about one thing: making their rich friends even richer on the backs of these same workers who ” would have attended anyway”…. I just don’t get it. Why support someone so counter to you and your families basic needs. Someone who will basically make your life worse, by taking away your healthcare and other social programs. Do they really think Romney gives a rat’s ass about them. Obama’s not prefect by far, but at least he actually gives a shit about The People.

  36. iganz says:

    I wonder if miners realize their jobs are threatened by lenient gas fracking regs.

  37. kevin says:

    That’s the fine tuned corporate machine using working class America as it usually does.

  38. Terry Purdue says:

    Wow…they have to force people to come to their events….their ideas suck!

  39. Scott says:

    I was going to suggest a dictionary for Mr. Moore, but after I read more of his comments I see it would do him no good.

  40. Nabil Al-Murabit says:

    I’m not surprised by this. Murray was doing all that they could to help their boy Romney, who if elected, will let them frack the hell out of Ohio, West Virginia and other places where coal is mined. That sad thing about all of this is that Obama or 44 as I have glossed him, is a big supporter of “clean” coal. Whatever the hell that is

  41. Spike says:

    The slippery slope to fascism gets ever steeper. This checks numbers 2, 9, 10 and 13 on the list.

  42. Ozonator says:

    Y’all finally caught Looter telling the truth about his pilodinal warriors’ Romulan and Ruin-

    “Pearls of Wisdom … July 18, 2012 … ” … the achievers and the successful are not those who ought to be giving anything back …”” (the old, ugly and evil Rush “looting” Limbaugh whistlesucker performing and perfuming the stink at

  43. BillD says:

    Seems to me like a great stategy for ensuring that the miners don’t vote for Romney. So what do the miners think about the presidential choice? Isn’t West Virginia strongly anti-Obama? I think that it is truely evil when miner companies push miners to take great and illegal risks under the threat that mines will be closed if safety rules are actually followed.

  44. Ellen Smith says:

    Those miners were not UMWA. It’s not a union operation.

  45. Scrooge says:

    I remember when a lie was a lie, then it became a spin, this year republicans seem to be coming up with different “facts”. They just put different names on it.

  46. Svein Magnussen says:

    That was what the Communist Parties in Eastern Europa did..Oredered people out to demonstrate for them..but with pay though…This was during “elections”, but also other demonstrations of party connection and support….So the GOP candidates has learned it from their “masters”?

  47. ZoeyKay says:

    According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “forced” is a synonym for “mandatory”. So I guess it’s now time to ban the dictionary, because it’s a left-wing, liberal, socialist conspiracy?

  48. ZoeyKay says:

    Because they are still gullible enough to believe that if the employer is getting more, then they will get more – even with decades of proof that it’s no longer true.

  49. Foo Bar says:

    You know. It’s the same as the difference between “forcible rape”, where you actively hold down the struggling woman, or “not really rape” where you just say “lie there or I’ll kill you” and she does. If you don’t actually use force, then it’s not so bad.

  50. agio says:

    “It was mandatory but no one was forced to attend” What kind of newspeak bullshit is that?

  51. David K says:

    “A lot of them [miners] have great technical skills with equipment, electricity, welding.”

    Hmmm, seems like wind energy would be right up their alley.

  52. Matthew Tanner says:

    Talk about not even giving a reach-around…

  53. Barb says:

    I completely agree! We have done so much climate damage that I’m not sure we can ever recover. And, these unprecedentedly greedy men seem to honestly believe their own lies! Humanity seems to be completely expendable to them. This is what we can expect more and more as we criminalize the right to collective bargaining. I shudder over what the future holds for everyday people. It seems beyond dismal for the poor and indigent.

  54. Milwauken says:

    If the miners were legitimately forced to attend, then it would be impossible for them to be impregnated with Republican talking points.

  55. Lifesart says:

    It’s like ‘mandatory’ rape is totally different from ‘forced’ rape…

  56. Dee says:

    Questions I have pondered myself as well. Would make a great college thesis or paper “Why blue collar workers continue to vote against their interests”. I suggested it to my son who is taking two PS courses this semester.

  57. Dee says:

    How can something be mandatory but they weren’t forced to go? That is the most ridiculous statement I ever heard! Absolutely disgusting. It’s like when John McCain had a bunch of school children bussed in for one of his stops in PA in ’08 to look like he had lots of young support. Sad.

  58. mike says:

    Just to clarify who Bob Murray is other than a Republican crony: he is also primarily responsible for the collapse of the Crandall Canyon mine in Utah. The roof of the mine – the entire mountain, really – collapsed to the dangerous method of “retreat mining.” In this method the entire pillar of coal is removed and the roof of the mine is allowed to cave-in behind the miners. Six men were killed in the initial collapse – and another three were killed during the rescue attempt. The bodies of the six were never recovered from the mountain. Murray also runs the Galatia mine in Illinois near where I live. The mine is known for its management encouraging or demanding lax safety practices. The mine was fined by MSHA 3,500 times over two years – and yes, the miners here were routinely intimidated by management. Bob Murray deserves no benefit of the doubt.

  59. ibwilliamsi says:

    I believe that Moore was using “forced” in the legal sense of the word. ie: They were not held at gunpoint or physically taken against their will to the event. Therefore this was an illegitimate attendance at an event without pay.

    “Mandatory” is a word used in labor circles to ensure that employees know that not doing whatever is “mandatory” is grounds for reprisal by the company, up to and including termination.

    I have to wonder why their Union contract doesn’t require the employer to pay for “mandatory meetings”. That’s pretty standard boilerplate language.

  60. Chris Winter says:

    And here I thought bosses like that were only found in old folk songs.

    Well the new foreman was Gene McCann.
    My God, he was a blamed mean man!
    One day a premature blast went off
    And a mile in the air went big Jim Goff.

    When the next payday did come around,
    Big Jim a dollar short was found.
    When he asked what for, came this reply:
    “You’re docked for the time you was up in the sky.”
    And Drill Ye Tarriers, Drill.

  61. Mond from Oz says:

    Whatever happened to the ‘Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave’? I’d like to think that if such a ‘mandate’ were issued by a mine boss here, he’d be told in no uncertain terms where he could shove it. And if he persisted, there wouldn’t be a miner at work, anywhere in the country.

  62. Len Conly says:

    It is sadly ironic that, as West Virginia coal companies destroy the state with mountaintop removal to get at the coal, next door in North Carolina the State Senate voted in 2009 to ban wind turbines from NC mountaintops. The juxtaposition of these stories would be worth a skit on Comedy Central if the display of ignorance by North Carolina Senate weren’t so tragic in its consequences for all of us.

    North Carolina Senate Bans Mountaintop Wind Turbines

    “But now, it appears the debate is over and the state senate has voted overwhelmingly in favor of the ban (a stunning 42 to1). And thus, large wind turbines will be left out cold–along with two thirds of the state’s potential wind power capacity.”

  63. Murray is a petty robber baron milking the hard labor of his workers to live in a reality of his own choosing. Not unlike Romney… except that Romney didn’t just underpay workers in the US and force them to serve as puppets to his whims, he also sent many of their jobs to China…

  64. This is a violation of fair labor practice and an infringement on an individual’s right to free speech. It essentially usurps right to speech as a condition of employment.

  65. Kinda like mandatory ultrasounds…

  66. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    ‘War is Peace’, ‘Love is Hate’, ‘Ignorance is Strength’. Big Brother never died.

  67. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Universal, mandatory, exceptionalism!

  68. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    It’s more hatred, of all that is ‘other’. Hence class hate, racism, xenophobia, religious hatred, homophobia, misogyny, inter-generational hate, hatred of the natural world etc.

  69. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    But you’re ‘free’ to lose. ‘Free to lose’-could be a good slogan.

  70. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    ‘Freedom of the individual’-but never, ever, for all individuals. That’s ‘socialism’. Freedom for the elect, free of conscience and human empathy.

  71. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Welcome to the 12th century. We’re all villeins now.

  72. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Jeez, Rabid-I’ve got to go to work sometimes. Keep the wolf from the door, etc. As you say, it speaks for itself. The neo-feudal project rolls on.

  73. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    We need real unions, however. In Australia the unions are all either Rightwing collaborators with the Bosses, corrupt fiefdoms or ‘Leftists’ with no real ideological agenda. And, once a society liberated from the capitalist incubus arises (if ever) free of exploitation and injustice, unions will no longer be necessary.

  74. Uggswell P. Gravel says:

    Ugg declare it mandatory that DNC make ad about this fascist ploy.

  75. nano says:

    he he. BTW you were a good president.

  76. nano says:

    coal is $1.66 per million btu
    natural gss is $4.00 per million btu
    electricity is $21.00 per million btu
    diesel is $28.00 per million btu
    gasoline is $24.00

    with price differences like these you can’t blame the energy companies for lying about everytning and profitting from the ignorant public.

  77. Ron says:

    Typical, non-Union,Republican,scare tactics… They are used all the time in the Republican run work force. Just another example of how it will be for the next eight years if Romney is elected President. Romney says, “Ronald Reagan was my hero.” Ronald Reagan called out the National Guard to break Union picket lines in 1980, in order to crush the voice of the working man. If elected, Romney will be no different.

  78. shirley sink says:

    Cat how would you like to heat your house and drive your truck ? Ok make gas out of corn, then we can starve. The next time you are required to do something unlawful, attend a mandatory meeting without pay, make a call to the Federal Labor Board. no name equired.

  79. don moore says:

    Trouble with republican bosses is they think they are doing their workers a favor by giving them a job;I always thought it was the other way around and that’s why they paid their workers for their services.Under Romney before long Americans will have to pay to go to work.