A group of coal miners in Ohio is angry.
They feel they would have been fired if they had not attended an August 14 event with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and contributed to his campaign. Even worse, they lost a day of pay for their trouble.
Republicans and Democrats alike favor filling their audiences with friendly, supportive faces. That’s nothing new. But to require employees to attend a political event and lose a day’s pay as a result is unconscionable, especially in a state like Ohio where every job is so precious.
Could this have anything to do with the fact that Murray Energy has contributed more than $900,000 to Republican candidates in the last two years?
Rawstory reports that in phone calls and emails to WWVA radio host David Blomquist, employees at the Century Mine in Ohio said they were intimidated into attending the Romney event and feared retaliation if they did not.
“Yes, we were in fact told that the Romney event was mandatory and would be without pay, that the hours spent there would need to be made up my non-salaried employees outside of regular working hours, with the only other option being to take a pay cut for the equivalent time,” the employees told Blomquist. “Yes, letters have gone around with lists of names of employees who have not attended or donated to political events.”
As a result, Blomquist discussed their beefs on the air on August 27 with Murray Energy Chief Financial Officer Rob Moore.
This is the most amazing interview, and you can listen to it here.
Here’s an example of what Blomquist had to deal with:
[Murray Energy CFO Rob] Moore told Blomquist that managers “communicated to our workforce that the attendance at the Romney event was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend.” He said the company did not penalize no-shows.
Clearly, Mr. Moore is very skilled in the art of double-speak, but Blomquist never gives up. He does such a great job: he is never rude or angry, but persistent and demanding.
Because the company’s mine had to be shut down for “safety and security” reasons during Romney’s visit, Moore confirmed workers were not paid that day. He said miners also lose pay when weather or power outages shut down the mine, and noted that federal election law doesn’t let companies pay workers to attend political events.
Moore said he didn’t see anything negative in attending Romney’s campaign appearance with U.S. Sen. Rob Portman and Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel.
When contacted about the interview on Monday afternoon, Murray Energy spokesman Gary Broadbent emailed this statement: “Rob Moore made it abundantly clear that no employees were forced to attend the Romney event. All participation was, and always has been, completely voluntary.”
Someone is not telling the truth here.
Romney used his appearance at the coal mine to blast what he called a “war on coal” by the Obama administration that he said was costing jobs in the coal industry. No surprises there.
Nobody should be forced to attend anyone’s political event. And if Murray Energy chooses to shut the mine down, why should the miners lose a day’s pay?
Do you agree?
Photo Credit: Dave Delay