LEAD

After Obama Win, Owner Sacks Workers

Murray Energy, the country's largest private coal company, laid off workers today--and linked the dismisals to Obama's regulatory policies.
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Murray Energy, of Cleveland, Ohio, appears to be the first company to lay off employees in the wake of President Obama's reelection.

Murray, the largest privately held coal company in the U.S., announced layoffs of 156 workers at its American Coal Company and UtahAmerican Energy subsidiaries today.

Murray, run by chief executive Robert Murray, a conservative, made news last month when The New Republic reported Murray forced workers to stand behind Republican candidate Mitt Romney at a summer rally in Ohio on their own time without pay, and for allegedly threatening employees with job termination for failing to donate to his personal list of Republican candidates.

At least half-a-dozen privately held companies have threatened layoffs or cutbacks if President Obama won reelection this year.  They include ASG Software Solutions, Cintas, Dana Holding, Koch Industries, Lacks Enterprises, Rite Hite, and Westgate Industries.

In two press releases, dated Wednesday, Murray attributed the job cutbacks to President Obama's "War on Coal." The employees, however, were laid off Thursday, a company spokesman said.

The Murray press releases read:

[Coal] production in 2012 has been reduced from the historic 1.2 billion tons per year to only 825 million tons this year.

The actions of Mr. Obama and his appointees in the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Interior, Office of Surface Mining, and Department of Labor, have already lead to the closure by 2014 of 204 American coal-fired power plants.

Because our coal markets are being so drastically reduced, in some regions and at some of our Companies at greater rates than the national industry, there is nowhere to sell our coal, and when we can, the market prices are far lower.

Without markets, there can be no coal mines and no coal jobs.

National university studies show that for every coal miner laid off, up to eleven (11) secondary jobs in the community will also be eliminated.

While the industry is being destroyed, incremental electric power auction prices have increased 800 percent (8 times) for the years 2015 and 2016 over current prices.

That contradicts an October 29 story from SNL Coal Report, a trade newsletter, which reports the third quarter of 2012 was a relatively productive one for Murray. Six of Murray's eight mines increased production to nearly 5.8 million tons, a more than 6% increase of 343,387 tons from the second quarter this year. (The other two had not reported production at the time of the report.)

Additionally, the same mines have produced 1.2 million more tons of coal in the third quarter compared to the same quarter a year earlier, SNL reported.

Murray did not make a company representative available for comment. A company spokesman referred Inc. to the November 7 press releases. The company made additional layoffs this summer, which were also reportedly linked to Obama's policies.

 

IMAGE: Getty
Last updated: Nov 8, 2012

JEREMY QUITTNER | Staff Writer | Staff Writer, Inc. and Inc.com

Jeremy Quittner is a staff writer for Inc. magazine and Inc.com. He previously covered technology for American Banker and entrepreneurship for BusinessWeek.




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