Coal Tattoo

UMWA Journal blasts Massey’s Blankenship


The latest issue of the United Mine Workers Journal takes on one of the union’s longtime opponents, Massey Energy Don Blankenship, with a lengthy article called, “Don’s World: Massey Energy’s CEO defines a rogue coal company.”

Of course, the UMWA’s beef with Blankenship goes back to the mid-1980s strike. But the story focuses on more recent events, including the Harman Mining case, Blankenship’s involvement in West Virginia politics more generally, and recent workplace safety and environmental problems at Massey operations.

It quotes UMWA President Cecil Roberts:

Coal can be mined in an environmentally responsible way. But in many respects, Massey has chosen not to do it that way, and the result has been to give the coal industry a black eye. As public scrutiny gets raised about coal and coal mining, Massey gives those who oppose coal something to point to as they bad-mouth our entire industry.

The article continues:

In Don Blankenship’s world, the coal industry should hunker down behind the Appalachian mountains and do nothing but call names and make enemies. He somehow appears to think that if he can ignore the issues surrounding coal and the future of coal, or if he says enough bad things about the politicians in Washington, then they will go away and leave the coal industry alone.

Roberts says:

“That is a recipe for failure … Don’s solution is to make the politicians do their worst and then try to gain some political advantage from it. That won’t lead to a single additional ounce of coal being mined, or a single coal job being saved.”