Two weeks ago I wrote about the suit brought by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) against Murray Energy for not allowing miners to file safety complaints anonymously and how our local "newspapers" covered the story. On Wednesday morning, an administrative law judge announced her decision. As reported by International Business Times on Thursday morning:
An administrative law judge is hitting the nation's largest underground coal mining company with a fine and sanctioning its chief executive for interfering with miners’ rights to file anonymous safety complaints with federal regulators.
The judge ordered Murray Energy Corp. to stop telling workers to notify management when they make confidential safety complaints to the federal government. In addition to a $150,000 fine, the company’s CEO, Bob Murray, must personally deliver speeches at mines informing workers of their rights, according to the ruling.
“I find interference with the right to make anonymous complaints to be a very serious matter that undermines the safety of the mine,” Judge Margaret Miller, of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, wrote in her decision, released Wednesday. “The negligence is high.”
The Times also notes:
The fine is $30,000 more than the penalties sought by the U.S. Department of Labor, which filed the complaint against Murray in July. Judge Miller said the company “did not demonstrate good faith in abating any violation” and accused Murray Energy of attempting to “intimidate the witnesses” when it filed a separate lawsuit of its own against the union in federal court.
Let's see. The judge ruled with the miners on the safety complaint issue, fined the company above what the Department of Labor had asked for, ordered Bob Murray to personally address the miners on their rights, and accused the company of trying to intimidate witnesses and jeopardize mine safety. I may be going out on a limb but I think this decision is a loss for Murray Energy.
Okay, the decision was rendered on Wednesday. The report from the International Business Times was posted Thursday morning. As of 1:30 PM today (Friday), neither Wheeling "newspaper" has covered the judge's decision in what would be a natural follow-up to previous front page stories in both papers. My hunch is that they are waiting for word from Murray Energy as to how they should spin the story as a victory for Murray Energy.