another day older and deeper in debt

Lucky Coal Miners Get Unpaid Vacation, Free Tickets To Mitt Romney Rally!

Clean, innovative fuel for the future!Mitt Romney is a hot ticket, everybody! People want to see him; and, until the secret Romney Cloning Project finally achieves success, there is only one of him to go around. According to the immutable Laws of Supply and Demand, this means that most humans have to pay big money for some Mitt Time. But what about the working classes — don’t they deserve to hear about all the jobs Mitt is going to create for them in a few months, even if they can’t pony up for Romney-Tix? Have no fear, poors, Mitt has an innovative structured financial deal for you: instead of paying with money, you’ll just pay by taking unpaid time off of your job in the coal mine, because your boss wants to use the coal mine (and you) as a prop for a Romney rally!

So you may have heard that Obama is literally making war on the coal industry (i.e., the EPA is regulating coal-fired plants to help us maybe not die, from pollution). Mitt Romney, meanwhile, is going to make America energy-independent by 2020 by mining the shit out of some coal, so energy industry folks like those at Murray Energy want Mitt to come and speechify and be photographed in front of their coal mines. But it wouldn’t do to have Mitt accidentally die in a mine explosion while he was there, so they’ll need to shut the place down for the day. And you don’t pay miners to not work! What is this, Communist Russia? The workers were just required to attend the political rally instead, which isn’t something that would happen in a Communist regime ever.

A group of employees who feared they’d be fired if they didn’t attend the campaign rally in Beallsville, Ohio, complained about it to WWVA radio station talk show host David Blomquist. Blomquist discussed their beefs on the air Monday with Murray Energy Chief Financial Officer Rob Moore.

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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.

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.

Mitt Romney, he’s like, a force of nature, man. Like a storm blowing through and shutting down the mine, you can’t anticipate him or control him; you just need to admire him. (Also, nice way to blame this whole problem on job-killing election laws, Rob.)

Anyway, even though the event was mandatory, you didn’t actually have to attend, so quit your whining, whining coal miners! Plus, don’t you know what’s good for you? “We are talking about an event that was in the best interest of anyone that’s related to the coal industry in this area or the entire country,” Moore pointed out. Remember: your boss can arbitrarily cut your hours and pay, if he decides the politics are in your best interest! [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

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About the author

Josh was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, leaving him with a love of chicken wings and a tendency to say “pop”. He taught ancient Greek and Roman history to undergraduates before fleeing from academia in terror; worked for a failed San Francisco dot-com that neglected to supply him with stock options or an Aeron chair; lived in Berlin, where he mostly ate Indian and Ethiopian food; finished in third place on his sole Jeopardy! appearance (the correct answer was “Golda Meir”); and was named 2007 Blogger of the Year by The Week, for obvious reasons. Josh is the creator/editor of COMICS CURMUDGEON (which you should read) and does geeky editing and writing about geeky things such as "the Java programming industry for JavaWorld." He lives in Baltimore with his wife Amber and his cat Hoagie.

View all articles by Josh Fruhlinger

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173 comments

  1. Maman

    Are they all dirty like the chimney sweeps in Mary Poppins? And singing. I think Mittens needs a big production number to sell this candidacy.

    1. kittensdontlie

      Shift-shaftity Shift-shaftity shift shaft-er-ree,
      A coal miner is not as lucky as lucky can be.
      Goin' to see Mittens with no pay for me,
      And bad luck will rub off if he blows a kiss to thee.
      I don't have to be mining to get the ol' shaft,
      And end up at the bottommost tunnel with smoke blown up my arse.

  2. Callyson

    what about the working classes — don’t they deserve to hear about all the jobs Mitt is going to create for them in a few months, even if they can’t pony up for Romney-Tix?

    Nah, they've told us people all we need to know.

  3. polnick

    High pump prices will have Romney win in a landslide. Big O will anger voters in his gas guzzling limo, when six buck gas is forcing motorists to peddle bicycles. All war moves by the administration are on hold, an Iranian oil blockade will cause long gas lines. Voters will call it Obama`s folly.

    1. Chichikovovich

      You really should keep up with current events.

      Gas prices were going up fast about four or five months ago, and you could tell because that was all the Republicans and Fox News were talking about: Gas prices are like the mostest importantest thing in the whole world and it's a sign of abject failure that Obama can't bring them down. And the price of gas is absolutely 100% up to the president. You could tell that this was a big deal to Fox, because they said "Obama should be doing something about gas prices" almost as often as they said "the president can't do anything about gas prices" when gas prices were even higher under Bush.

      But then gas prices went down again! And now gas prices are like the least important thing in the political landscape and Fox seems to have completely forgotten it. Romney never mentions it. Weird, eh.

      The quality trolls are on top of these things. I guess that's why you were stuck with the Wonkette assignment.

      1. polnick

        Iran is holding the US presidential election hostage; an oil blockade by them will drive the price of gas to over 10 bucks a gallon. It will cause Obama to go back to Chicago, and Romney will find a new home in the White House. It will take the US Navy three months to sink Iranian ships and clear the mines, the price of gas will then go down to three bucks.

        1. Fox n Fiends

          So…Iran supports Mitt Romney? Thanks for the insight, I'll be sure to let John Bolton know of this troubling news.

        2. MissTaken

          BUT! The US Navy is filled with coed bathrooms and sailors with the ghey now. I say it will take 5 months to effectively bump off Iraq. Oops, I mean Syria. Darnit, I really mean Iran.

        3. An_Outhouse

          we don't get petroleum products from those-that-are-not -to-be -mentioned because that would be illegal, except for Dick Cheney.

        4. James Michael Curley

          Not a drop of oil leaves Iran and goes to a.) the US, b.) a country which would trans-ship it to the US, c.) over a dozen countries who are strictly following the same embargo, or d.) a country with similar API 'balance to the barrel' schedules as the US. Virtually every drop of Iranian oil goes to countries which are net importers of lower specific gravity crude oil. Thus even the oft incorrect analogy that "if X can't get Iranian crude oil it will out bid the US for A's crude oil" is not valid since; a.) the refining capacity science is not compatible with making drastic SPI crude shifts, and b.) A would loose its traditional buyer in a world market which is crude heavy and have a period of months trying to find an alternative buyer.

          So, is Iran going to piss down its own leg to shake up the US? A close to 100% no. When I say close to 100% I am talking about 9's to the 9's.

          Even using the casus beli theory of a preemptive attempt to close the Straights of Hormuz with X numbers of the Iranian naval battery is quite ridiculous as Obama had already moved an additional COMPLETE carrier group into the area months ago. Every targeting apparatus on ship and aircraft now has the coordinates of every single Iranian ship larger than a tuna boat and every aircraft logged in. Take a look at the map when making or buying into such an absurd expectation. Iran a convenient position to the Straights of Hormuz but any attempt to block it terminates the oil exports of UAE, Qatar, Baharain and half Saudi Arabia. Those countries exert a far more effective influence on Iran than we do and they are also heavily armed with munitions, aircraft and ships we sold them.

          Your premise sounds nice when used to scare the rubes, but like most of Mitt Romney's statements and, especially foreign policy, is based on false assumptions, straw men and idiotic nativity.

          In other words, your argument falls to the same reality as the arguments of many of the past Republican Neo-Conservative madmen.

          1. James Michael Curley

            The irony of Russian mines being used is highlighted by recent attempts to get Russia to participate more in the embargo of Iranian oil and product. Russia, having failed to provide pipeline capacity from the Urals to the East, is dependant of the transshipping of Iranian crude. Transshipping is a term whereby a product is routed through another country, whether for economic means or convenience, so that the final destination is not readily known.I don’t discount that some kind of action may be possible by Iran in an attempt to economically attack the US (and that action would be deemed to be an action against most of Europe and a few other US allies) but the attempt grows more and more unlikely as Iran grows more unstable. This so because Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is becoming more of a stabilizing element and the people’s only defense against a cleric lead government which would quickly go insular.Although the US continues to play a geopolitical game in the Middle East, it may be time to let the nuts take over in a few countries and watch as they collapse the economy the last 40 years of Middle Eastern regionalism has made possible.

      2. MissTaken

        Gas prices are high again in California thanks to the Chevron oil refinery fire a couple of weeks ago. A fire that was brushed under the rug to hide the toxicity spewed all over the East Bay. Investigators are already pointing fingers at lax regulations and oversight at the refinery. Of course under commie-socialist Obama regulations are strangling job creators like Chevron and that's why polnick is so much smarter than us dummies on teh Wonkett.

        Thank you Chevron and an extra special thank you to polnick for keeping up on current events!
        http://www.democracynow.org/2012/8/8/chevron_oil_http://fuelfix.com/blog/2012/08/27/huge-gaps-in-o

      3. Lascauxcaveman

        Yes, I'm happy to notice that gas price thing hardly ever gets the attention it used to. I think the truth about gas prices has finally been repeated enough so that most people actually understand how they work (Hint: it has *nothing* to do with anything a president or other politician says or does about it.)

        Equally pleasing is the fact that income disparity and taxation are getting traction in the news, and in almost every article I see on those subjects, the fact that rich folks just don't pay as much taxes as they used is mentioned quite prominently.

        It can't be said often enough.

      4. tessiee

        "But then gas prices went down again! And now gas prices are like the least important thing in the political landscape"

        Even worse than having obnoxious pedal extremities is having to work in an office like this. Whatever you haven't done is overwhelmingly important until the instant you do it.

        At least the guys who want whatever they haven't got until the second they get it can be avoided.

    2. Zango Crudmonger

      At first read I thought you typed "All war MOVIES by the administration are on hold", which gave me the sads, b/c I've been looking forward to the remake of Dr. Strangelove, with Biden playing Peter Sellers' roles. Sigh.

    3. James Michael Curley

      On the "gas guzzling limo" front. Dubya used heavily armored stretched limo hummers specially built with larger engines. The Obama administration opted for a armored assembly line Escalade that gets three times the gas mileage (still only about 12mph, but a hell of a lot cheaper to run.)

  4. ChernobylSoup

    We need two columns for comments: One regarding miners who will still vote for Romney; another for miners with brains.

  5. Barbara_

    Meh, the coal mine workers would have just squandered that pay on food and fuel. Let them do without.

  6. edgydrifter

    Hell, why stop there? Just make working in the mines mandatory and unpaid. At that rate, coal country will have 100% employment overnight. JERBS!!

  7. Callyson

    attendance at the Romney event was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend

    Mandatory, but not forced. Which makes about as much sense as "compassionate conservatism" ever did…

    1. NYNYNYjr

      It was mandatory, but physical force was not used. That's just what Romney needs, liberals flipping out over a photo of Romney speaking in front of bound and gagged miners. Liberals would start crying rape again.

  8. Terry

    Murray Energy, of course they're a big time GOP donor. They are also well known for polluting the hell out of the areas around their mines. It's not surprising that they treat their workers badly. It's sort of the trifecta of the perfect company in Republican minds.

    1. not that Dewey

      Feels more like 28 Days Later. At least, I felt myself coming down with the Rage this morning.

  9. MOG2410

    "communicated to our workforce that the attendance at the Romney event was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend.”

    HUH?????

      1. MOG2410

        Uh, I doubt it, you don't want to make enemies in a mineshaft. Shaft being the operative word.

        1. tessiee

          S.J. Perelman, on a tour of the Egyptian Pyramids: Why should I have to tip you?
          Tour Guide: You do not have to, Sir… But I think you would be getting out much sooner if you did.

    1. ElPinche

      I was getting Murray Energy confused with Massey Energy…same problem, different asshole (fat fuck Don Blankenship).

  10. Goonemeritus

    I don’t understand why any union member especially those working miles underground wouldn’t want to voluntarily support a Party that advocates freedom form all those silly lifesaving regulations.

      1. Biel_ze_Bubba

        I thought China was leading the way, with 2,433 people killed in coal mine accidents in 2010.

        The good news is that this was down 10% from 2009. The bad news is that — being evil socialist commies and yadda yadda durrrrrr — they got it down by choosing "job-killing regulations" over people-killing non-regulation. Real Amercian™ Republicans, of course, prefer the latter, for freedumb.

  11. LastGasp

    federal election law doesn’t let companies pay workers to attend political events.

    I don't think that mandatory attendance counts when it comes to attending a political event.

  12. Oblios_Cap

    the Romney event was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend.” He said the company did not penalize no-shows.

    WTF does that mean? Orwell would be proud.

  13. hagajim

    I see a contradiction in this "attendance at the Romney event was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend"…or maybe that's a contra-dick-shun.

    1. natoslug

      No contradiction whatsoever — it was mandatory, and you'd get fired if you didn't attend, but nobody was going to force you by putting a gun to your head. Sure, maybe they'd rape your dog, but only an unforced rape, so it's still legit.

  14. Oblios_Cap

    I imagine that next the company will "suggest" who the workers vote for, and the voting precinct will be in the mine offices with transparent voting equipment.

  15. Steverino247

    Mandatory, but not forced to attend? I'll try that line to get out of my next staff meeting at work…

  16. Antispandex

    Ohio…a "right to work" state? 'Cause those are just AWESOME! Or…could it be that the trend to deny workers their rights has NOTHING to do with anti-unionism? All I know is that when the Pendergast machine did this in Kansas City, back in the good old days, it was frowned upon. See? Living in pre-New Deal America won't be so bad!

  17. BigSkullF*ckingDog

    Eh, I would feel more sorry for these guts if 80% of them weren't going to vote for Romney anyway.

        1. RedneckMuslin

          I get my redneck bitches mixed up. I meant whoever was the coal miner's daughter. Yeah, that's her.

          1. Chichikovovich

            Now, now RM, let's have some respect for Tammy and Loretta. Two moving, soulful voices, whatever the style they sang in.—

          2. RadioBowels

            ♫ ♬ Hey Loretta, I love you more than my irish Setter
            Hey Loretta, don't leave me alone…♫ ♬

          1. Chichikovovich

            Excellent idea! I'll get my people to work forging birth certificates stat. (And we'll make sure to forge long form ones this time. Don't want to make that mistake again.)

            And we even have a ready-made campaign song, set to the stirring tune of "Onward Christian Soldiers" .

  18. Tundra Grifter

    Remember when President Bush used members of the US Military as photo props for his events?

    I guess they got paid that day. But, as I understand it, they had to fill out a questionnaire and otherwise qualify to attend. Being in the Service just wasn't enough.

    The Bush minions also screened any questions that might be asked.

  19. no_gravity

    "the Romney event was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend"

    Were flip flops mandatory to wear at the rally?

    1. Biel_ze_Bubba

      You and your damned facts! What have facts got to do with Republican politics?

      Please prefix this stuff with (OT) so we know in advance, OK?

    1. GeorgiaBurning

      Kim would provide free lunch and a five year plan. Mittens' version of juche needs a lot of work

      1. Steverino247

        Actually, I think "juche" really means: "Anybody related to Kim makes out like a millionaire while everybody else eats shit and scrabbles in the dirt for molecules of protein."

  20. Beowoof

    I know that as a worker at that mine, it would sure help me make up my mind whom to vote for. Nothing makes hourly workers happier than losing paid time for someone they would consider to be a management asshole.

  21. punkneverdies

    Why is it so hard for people just to pay their employees? I just don't understand why a group of jerks who talk about hard work being rewarded all the time refuse to reward people for possibly the hardest work on the planet. Give them a paid day off just DO IT your accountant will figure out how to make the government pay for it anyway.

    1. ChernobylSoup

      Because if you pay them an honest wage with a few perks they will turn gay and communist. It's in the RNC handbook.

  22. Generation[redacted]

    "We told them it was mandatory, and we are hoping most of them don't realize that we can't legally force them to be at work without being paid. At least until President Romney changes the labor laws."

  23. MacRaith

    I am extremely glad that my great-great-grandfather had the foresight to get out of the WV coal mines and move to Pittsburgh to work in the steel mills. Because the steel mill was actually a huge step up in the world.

  24. Arborista

    The miners were smart to agree. They heard what happened to those platinum miners in South Africa…

      1. Arborista

        I actually heard someone on the BBC the other night whinging on about how all traces of Apartheid hadn't been eradicated after 18 years.

        1. Generation[redacted]

          Anyone who lived in the South a century after the American Civil War would be shocked to learn this.

  25. metamarcisf

    I don't know what's worse – that these minors were voluntarily mandated to attend an unpaid rally, or that every one of them is under 18 years of age. What happened to the child labor laws?

  26. el_donaldo

    Instead of pay they'll get a book of scrip for Romney/Ryan campaign merchandise at the company store. Ann will let them touch her horse if they shower and delouse first.

  27. freakishlywrong

    Mittens. Denying pay to coal miners. Really? He's a fucking Dickens villain, wot he is.

    1. BarackMyWorld

      Romney is a Dickens villian, like Moonbase Gingrich was a bong villian…I guess Santorum was a villian from a Disney movie.

    2. NYNYNYjr

      This plus his old "tax for being blind" and "tax for being developmentally disabled" while Gov of taxachusetts.

  28. sewollef

    Un-fucking-believable.

    "…attendance at the Romney event was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend."

    This is the year 2012. The second decade of the 21st Century. We've got robots driving across the desert of another planet right now, taking pics and beaming them back to us, from hundreds of thousands of miles out in space.

    And yet… we are still sending human beings a mile underground to dig in dark tunnels, risking methane gas escapes, cave fall-ins, explosions, oh, and death…. for one of the world's worst pollutants — to light our fires at night.

    Are we fucking insane?

      1. sewollef

        Right.

        It's like snark flies out the window when you read shit like this. They shut the mine and didn't pay their workers. 'What the hell century is this', was my thinking…

    1. elviouslyqueer

      And yet… we are still sending human beings a mile underground to dig in dark tunnels, risking methane gas escapes, cave fall-ins, explosions, oh, and death…. for one of the world's worst pollutants — to light our fires at night.

      Now now, we will have none of that commie fag renewable energy bullshit here. Solar and wind energy? Pshaw. What happens when the sun doesn't shine or if the wind doesn't blow, smartypants?

  29. MissTaken

    Those coal miners should just borrow money from their parents to buy their own coal mine and finally be productive, job creating members of the society.

  30. BarackMyWorld

    You know, I was justing saying the other day "Its not hot enough outside right now…I sure wish there was more heat-retaining carbon in the atmosphere to raise the planet's average temperature." Thanks, Mitt!

  31. zappadoo76

    Mandatory unpaid attendence at a Mittens rally? There is something worse than working in a coal mine!

  32. rickmaci

    You know who else forced common citizens to line the streets waving party flags and appear to be cheering wildly when his motorcades passed by?

    1. Steverino247

      Um, lemme see. They were short, fat fucks who spoke Korean. Kim something. I know I'm close…

    2. PubOption

      Emperor Bokassa. And if the children didn't wave their flags enthusiastically, he would have them shot.

  33. Estproph

    I believe this to be mandatory:

    Workin' in a coal mine
    Goin' down down down
    Workin' in a coal mine
    Whop! about to slip down
    Workin' in a coal mine
    Goin' down down down
    Workin' in a coal mine
    Whop! about to slip down
    Five o'clock in the mornin'
    I'm all ready up and gone
    Lord I am so tired
    How long can this go on?

    I'm workin' in a coal mine
    Goin' down down down
    Workin' in a coal mine
    Whop! about to slip down
    Workin' in a coal mine
    Goin' down down down
    Workin' in a coal mine
    Whop! about to slip down

    Cos I'm on call in the mornin'
    Oh I go by the coal
    But when Saturday goes around
    I'm too tired for havin' fun (Too tired for having fun)

    I been workin'in a coal mine
    Goin' down down down
    Workin' in a coal mine
    Whop! about to slip down
    Workin' in a coal mine
    Goin' down down down
    Workin' in a coal mine
    Whop! about to slip down

    Lord I am so tired
    How long can this go on?

    I'm workin' in a coal mine
    Goin' down down down
    Workin' in a coal mine
    Whop! about to slip down
    Workin' in a coal mine
    Goin' down down down
    Workin' in a coal mine
    Whop! about to slip down

    Five o'clock in the mornin'
    I'm all ready up and gone
    Lord I am so tired
    How long can this go on?

    I'm workin' in a coal mine
    Goin' down down down
    Workin' in a coal mine
    Whop! about to slip down
    Workin' in a coal mine
    Goin' down down down
    Workin' in a coal mine
    Whop! about to slip down

    Cos I'm on call in the mornin'
    Oh I go by the coal
    But when Saturday goes around
    I'm too tired for havin' fun (Too tired for having fun)

    I been workin'in a coal mine
    Goin' down down down
    Workin' in a coal mine
    Whop! about to slip down
    Workin' in a coal mine
    Goin' down down down
    Workin' in a coal mine
    Whop! about to slip down

  34. cultjampro

    I grew up in the area. Not only did the miners get an unpaid day off and mandatory attendance at the rally but some miners claim (and I believe they're telling the truth) that Murray Energy withholds one percent of their pay for political activities.

    One final note: it was not only insulting that these miners were insulted by being forced to attend the rally, but they were further patronized by having Senate candidate Josh Mandel use a phony Southern accent in his speech to the minors. For crissakes, Mandel is from Cleveland and people from Belmont County, Ohio have a North Midland accent (to be more specific, a weak Pittsburgh accent–Belmont County is about 50 miles west of Pittsburgh)

  35. Incitefully_Joe

    So, because it would be illegal to pay employees to participate in campaign events, we will simply not pay them, and make participation a condition of further employment. And not paying employees for mandatory participation in a political campaign seems like just the sort of dodge that would be completely legal, if the FEC actually enforced the law, I'm reasonably certain.

  36. An_Outhouse

    Obama is making war on the coal industry by using his super powers to lower the price of natural gas. Now no one wants to use more coal.

  37. Living in Joy

    I actually wondered about that. When I saw their faces in the photos, I thought, no way they want to attend this rally. There was barely concealed disgust as they watched little Lord Flauntelroy jerkily walk past them. Does he walk that way because of the secret Morman underwear? I swear you could see his underwear in the photo of him on the jet ski with Ann. It just barely shows on his left leg under the hem of the trunks. Maybe I need to find a hobby ………..

  38. DahBoner

    So it cost 'em a day's pay to see a robot?

    //whistles

    That's one fancy robot you boys got there…

  39. James Michael Curley

    Fluffing off issues of gas prices may be fine for the so-called ‘unconcerned’ defined by your criteria of portfolios and mistresses.  Although I have no mistresses and never did, I have a lot of digits in my portfolio and have no interest in watching them diminish because energy cost inflation ate it all up.  Energy driven inflation is serious business.  In the late 1970’s we experienced what was being called ‘stagflation.’  This was anticipated by a number of classical economists but discounted as highly unlikely.  It was something where the continued cost of energy drove the growth of the economy to the point where even high inflation could not grow the economy.So tell your friends to be concerned about what the effect of the cost of a gallon of gas has on our economy or you are headed for a retirement eating $14 a can cat food.

  40. glamourdammerung

    If only they had a group to protect them from illegal abuses like this. A union if you will.

  41. Nostrildamus

    "… attendance at the Romney event was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend."

    "Work shall make you free" he later added.

  42. ttommyunger

    Mittens would last about five minutes a mile underground with the boys. I come from coal mining stock, my dad and grampa worked in the coal mines in Ray County, Missouri along the old bed of the Missouri River, I know what I'm talking about.

  43. Biel_ze_Bubba

    The mine had to be shut down for “safety and security” reasons during Romney’s visit.
    Right. I'm sure it's in the rules somewhere that you have to shut down operations for grandstanding GOP politicians. No doubt the owners cheered Mitt wildly.
    Anything that interferes with production in order to keep miners from getting killed, on the other hand, is socialist big gub'mint jerb-killin' intereference with a patriotic Amercian business, and cause for outraged fist-shaking at Obummer.

Comments are closed.