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CEO who forced workers to attend Romney rally cuts 156 jobs and blames Obama

By Stephen C. Webster
Friday, November 9, 2012 16:43 EDT
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Mitt Romney speaks to coal miners
 
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The CEO of Ohio-based Murray Energy Corp., who forced his employees to attend an August rally for failed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, announced on Wednesday that 156 jobs would have to be cut because of President Barack Obama’s reelection.

CEO Robert E. Murray read a prayer to employees before announcing the cuts, according to The Washington Post. “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,” he reportedly said.

The same company’s employees were forced to stand behind Romney during an Ohio event last August, in a visual that would later become part of a campaign ad. The Ohio Democratic Party later claimed that the miners were “extorted” for campaign contributions, and called for a criminal investigation. Employees of the company told The New Republic that their contributions are tracked and they feared repercussions if they didn’t attend fundraisers.

It’s not the first time that Murray has fired workers and blamed Obama: he did the same thing last August, closing a mining operation in Brilliant, Ohio, where 239 people worked, then telling them the move was due to “Mr. Obama’s ‘war on coal’ and the destruction it has caused.”

Despite Murray’s belief that there’s a “war on coal,” the U.S. Energy Information Administration says that domestic coal production has remained near historical norms during Obama’s first term, edging up each year since 2009. Additionally, Murray Energy’s most recent quarterly production report noted that workers in six of Murray’s mines have increased coal production by more than 1.2 million tons over the same period in 2011. The company’s earnings are only released to investors.

Unfortunately, Murray is not alone. Applebee’s New York franchise CEO Zane Tankel announced on Friday during an appearance on Fox Business that he’s refusing to hire any new people because the Affordable Care Act will require that the company purchase health insurance. “The model’s been set,” he said. “I just want to say we’re looking at it, we’re evaluating it, if it’s possible to do without cutting people back, I’m delighted to do it. But that also rolls back expansion, it rolls back hiring more people, and in a best-case scenario we only shrink the labor force minimally.”

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
 
 
 
 
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