Mitt Romney last month attacked President Obama‘s environmental and economic policies by running an ad featuring dozens of coal workers who, as the world now knows, were unpaid for their appearance, but forced to appear in the ad and lost a day’s pay for the privilege of doing so.
As it turns out, those workers are employed — or, in some cases as of this week, were employed — by Robert E. Murray, the owner of America’s largest privately-owned coal corporation, Murray Energy, based in Ohio.
On Wednesday, the day after Barack Obama won re-election, and because Barack Obama won re-election, coal magnate Bob Murray gathered some of his employees together, read them a prayer, and then fired them.
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.”
(Full text of prayer here.)
By the way? Murray’s perception and description of what he sees as where America is moving is total hogwash. Turn off Fox News, Bob!
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.
Here’s what The New Republic reported last month:
Over the years, CEO Robert Murray has brought in GOP pols from as far away as Alaska, California, and Massachusetts for fund-raisers. In 2010, the year John Boehner became House speaker, the firm’s 3,000 employees and their families were his second-biggest source of funds. (AT&T was in first place, but it has nearly 200,000 employees.) This year, Murray is one of the most important GOP players in one of the most important battleground states in the country. In May, he hosted a $1.7 million fund-raiser for Romney. Employees have given the nominee more than $120,000. In August, Romney used Murray’s Century Mine in the town of Beallsville for a speech attacking Barack Obama as anti-coal. This fall, scenes from that event—several dozen coal-smudged Murray miners standing behind the candidate in a tableau framed by a giant American flag and a COAL COUNTRY STANDS WITH MITT placard—have shown up in a Romney ad.
The ads aired even after Ohio papers reported what I was told by several miners at the event, a bit of news that an internal memo confirms: The crowd was not there of its own accord. Murray had suspended Century’s operations and made clear to workers that they were expected to attend, without pay. “I tell ya, you’ve got a great boss,” Romney said in acknowledging Robert Murray from the stage. “He runs a great operation here.”
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.”
So, it would appear that Murray sees his employees as pawns, props, and even pimps for his political purposes, using the fruits of the labor, the cash from their paychecks, and their tacit endorsement by appearing in an ad for Mitt Romney. And when he doesn’t win, who loses? Not Bob Murray, who certainly has enough cash to support himself and his family. No, his workers, whose personal financial support and likely their votes for Romney just weren’t enough to turn the tide.
Bob Murray is Mitt Romney’s “job creators.”
If this isn’t illegal, it sure ought to be.
This is why we need unions. Because those who live off the hard work of others can’t be trusted to do the right thing.
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