The Wheeling Intelligencer rewrites the Murray Energy press release
On Saturday morning, reporter Casey Junkins explained the possibility of layoffs at Murray Energy:
Murray Energy Corp. indicated Friday it may cut 4,400 more jobs by September — a move that would leave the company that employed 8,400 in May of 2015 with fewer than 1,000 workers.
Featuring a number of quotes from CEO Robert Murray and company spokesperson Gary Broadbent who both blame the president and his energy policies, the article looked to be a rewrite of a Murray Energy press release.
Other conservative newspapers note an interesting coincidence
Missing from the Intelligencer article was something that may have been another reason for the announcement of potential layoffs: the UMWA's rejection a day earlier of a contract proposal. Here is what two other conservative newspapers included in their Murray-possible-layoff story. From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
Members of the United Mine Workers of America this week rejected a proposed contract agreement with the Bituminous Coal Operators Association, which is led by company CEO Robert E. Murray. The current contract expires at the end of the year.
And here's what the Wall Street Journal wrote:
The move came just a day after the United Mine Workers of America said it would reject a proposed new labor deal with Murray. The existing contract expires at the end of this year.
The Huffington Post pointed to efforts by Murray to get miners to support Trump in an article titled "Coal Baron Promises Huge Layoffs, Then Tells Workers To Vote Trump":
Robert Murray, owner of the country’s largest private coal company, wasted no time pointing the finger when he announced plans earlier this week to lay off as many as 4,400 workers, or 80 percent of his workforce.
His St. Clairsville, Ohio-based Murray Energy Corporation needed to downsize “due to the ongoing destruction of the United States coal industry by President Barack Obama, and his supporters, and the increased utilization of natural gas to generate electricity,” he said.
“Frankly, I am frightened for you, my employees, and the survival of your jobs and family livelihoods,” Murray said in a speech to workers, according to The Wall Street Journal. Their only hope for their jobs, the 75-year-old said, lies in electing “friends of coal” like Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
And the online environmental site, Grist took a similar approach with "Coal baron is trying to elect Trump with old tricks":
The owner of the nation’s largest private coal company backs the GOP presidential nominee, pressures his employees to fundraise for him, and promises layoffs if he doesn’t get his way. If all this sounds familiar, it’s because CEO Robert Murray is reusing an old playbook to elect Donald Trump. . . .
There are echoes of the 2012 election in his recent actions: Murray similarly predicted layoffs if Obama won reelection, followed through on the threat immediately after he won, and went so far to pressure his employees to contribute to Mitt Romney.
Personally, I side with what the Trib-Review and Wall Street Journal hint -- I believe this action is about the union's rejection of the contract.