Fired coal mine employee shares letter from evil coal boss with the world

Nov 10, 2012 by

 Grist

By Philip Bump

 

A post popped up on the link-sharing site Reddit earlier today: “Yesterday I was laid off because President Obama was re-elected. AMA!” “AMA” is short for “ask me anything,” inviting the Reddit community to do exactly that. Accompanying the post is this image:

 

reddit

 The Reddit poster, who said he worked in a warehouse for a coal company, didn’t identify the company, but we can tell you: It was Murray Energy, a coal company based in Ohio and run by our old friend Prayin’ Robert Murray.

For those just joining us, we’ve written about Murray a number of times. He’s the guy who forced miners to take unpaid time off to attend a Romney rally and who insisted that his management staff donate to the company’s pro-Romney PAC. Murray Energy, like many other coal companies, is having a tough time in an energy market increasingly dominated by natural gas. But Robert Murray doesn’t admit that. Robert Murray blames Obama.

The letter isn’t on company letterhead, but it’s clearly Murray’s handiwork. The day after the election, Murray announced layoffs of 54 miners in Illinois and 102 miners in Utah. In each case, Murray used the language in that letter. As the Deseret News notes:

In its statement, UtahAmerican Energy [a subsidiary of Murray Energy] blames the Obama administration for instituting policies that will close down “204 American coal-fired power plants by 2014″ and for drastically reducing the market for coal.

“There is nowhere to sell our coal, and when we can, the market prices are far lower,” the statement said. “Without markets, there can be no coal mines and no coal jobs.”

It prompts the question, of course: What would Murray have done if Romney had won? The reasons the coal industry is struggling would continue to exist under any administration. It’s likely, though, that Murray wouldn’t have tried to use the layoffs to score political points.

As the person who posted the letter at Reddit notes. Here are some selected questions and answers.

You mentioned you voted for Obama… Is this something that was common knowledge among coworkers? Do you believe you we’re laid off BECAUSE you voted for Obama?

I was very quiet about it because I did fear a backlash.

just know these are lies. You were laid off because natural gas, being a reasonable energy input substitute, has proved to be cheaper than coal. Thus coal requires special permission from the epa and others to avoid the costs of cleaning up. The epa has refused to grant it.
You got fired because they found a fuck ton of natural gas, and not ebcause obama was reelected.

I agree, but as I pointed out it’s a political statement just to be able to present a number of coal workers out of a job to make Obama look bad.

How do you feel about the fact your company most likely has donated millions to the Republican Party, yet you were laid off? (1.5 million, if its the company I think it is)

I’m furious about it. Our mine operator also came out and said he made a mistake by supporting Rick Perry at first and spending damn near a million on him.

How can any rational being possibly give the reason, “America has betrayed coal miners”? I would feel stupid just having that thought.

The mine operator admitted that he decided to open his own mines when a squirrel told him so…I shit you not.

That last part we can’t verify — but would obviously love to.

I’ll leave you with an excerpt of the prayer Murray offered to a local paper after Obama’s victory — a prayer that never asks for blessings on those Murray was about to fire.

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.

Here’s a question for you, anonymous Reddit poster. Will Murray’s prayer help you feed your family?

Robert Murray

We welcome your comments!