Mine Workers Cheer as Supreme Court Upholds Blankenship Conviction

Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg Editor, Press Associates Union News

The Mine Workers are cheering the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the conviction of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship on charges related to the fatal Upper Big Branch explosion at Massey’s mine more than five years ago.

Without comment, the justices refused to even accept Blankenship’s appeal of his conviction for falsifying data and other crimes in connection with the blast, which killed 29 miners in West Virginia. Investigators later traced the cause to the firm, which, under Blankenship’s direction, prioritized profits over safety. Blankenship served a year in prison.

“I join with the families of the 29 victims of the Upper Big Branch disaster, as well as the families of the other 25 people killed on Massey Energy property while Don Blankenship was CEO of that company, in applauding the Supreme Court’s rejection of Blankenship’s appeal of his federal criminal conviction,” Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts said.      

“It’s instructive to look at the record. First, Don’s whack-job theory of what happened at the UBB mine has been deemed false by two state investigations, one federal investigation and one done by the UMWA.

“Second, he has been convicted in federal court of setting up a scheme to circumvent federal mine safety and health law. His appeals have been denied at every judicial level, including now by the Supreme Court. He served an all-too-short sentence in a federal penitentiary for his crime. He is a convict, and he will always be one.

“No one believes his story about UBB because it is simply not true, even though he continues to pollute the airwaves in West Virginia with his ridiculous claims. It’s time for him to go back to Las Vegas and allow the families of those killed under his watch at Massey to live their lives free from his miserable attempts to blame others for his own misdeeds.”  

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Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

An Invitation to Sunny Miami. What Could Be Bad?

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

If a billionaire “invites” you somewhere, you’d better go. Or be prepared to suffer the consequences. This past May, hedge fund kingpin Carl Icahn announced in a letter to his New York-based staff of about 50 that he would be moving his business operations to Florida. But the 83-year-old Icahn assured his staffers they had no reason to worry: “My employees have always been very important to the company, so I’d like to invite you all to join me in Miami.” Those who go south, his letter added, would get a $50,000 relocation benefit “once you have established your permanent residence in Florida.” Those who stay put, the letter continued, can file for state unemployment benefits, a $450 weekly maximum that “you can receive for a total of 26 weeks.” What about severance from Icahn Enterprises? The New York Post reported last week that the two dozen employees who have chosen not to uproot their families and follow Icahn to Florida “will be let go without any severance” when the billionaire shutters his New York offices this coming March. Bloomberg currently puts Carl Icahn’s net worth at $20.5 billion.

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Health Care Should Not Be A Bargaining Weapon

Health Care Should Not Be A Bargaining Weapon