Thursday, April 8, 2010

Coal Mine Deaths Not Accidental, Corporate Murder

My heart goes out to the families of those 25 men who died in a methane explosion in a coal mine owned by Massey Energy. As the daughter of a coal miner, I fully understand their grief. My father was different in that his job was covered by a union agreement by the United Mineworkers of America. This kind of work is always dirty and difficult, but thanks to the UMWA, at least the workers had pretty safe work conditions. These men, on the other hand, worked for a non-union company and not one that cared much about their safety. Last year they had 458 safety violations just in that mine alone. That's an average of 38 safety violations a month, more than one a day!
We are in the year 2010, and there is no excuse for having people working in unsafe conditions. There are plenty of technological advances available that can make working underground as safe as working above ground. Massey Energy obviously cares little about the people who work for them, their profits are much more important to them than the safety and lives of their employees. That is why I can't understand why this is being reported by the media as an accident. Due to the fact that there are safe ways for this work to be performed, Massey Energy has made a conscious decision not to implement such safety measures, so these deaths are an act of deliberate murder. Their profits are more important than the lives of the people whose labor helps them reap those same profits. To call this an accident makes no sense to me. Each of those 25 miners (and possibly the other miners still missing) was an act of murder and should be prosecuted as such! Furthermore, any and all coal mines owned and operated by these murderers should be closed down (with the miners being paid their weekly wages) until Massey Energy brings them up to code to be safe to work in. These miners lives were snuffed out, Massey Energy should be made to pay for these crimes of murder, both in money and jailtime. A perfect punishment for them would be for them to work in one of their own mines. The families of these miners deserve justice. May their faces haunt the management of this company forever!

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