Don Blankenship’s Pay – comment by Mari-Lynn Evans


Don Blankenship

The following is an excerpt from a blog post from “Coal Tattoo” by Ken Ward:

Retired Massey Energy Co. chief Don Blankenship’s total compensation fell 48 percent in 2010 as he tried to right the struggling company following the nation’s deadliest coal mine explosion in decades, an Associated Press analysis of a regulatory filing shows.

Blankenship earned just over $9 million in total compensation last year, compared with $17.3 million in 2009.

The 2010 figure doesn’t include the $12 million retirement package Blankenship got when he left the Richmond, Va.-based company in December. He received $2 million Dec. 31 and is due to get the rest on July 1.

I often wonder how coal miners can support an industry that operates the way Massey has. I see the Massey flag flying over their homes, their logo on miner’s cars and clothes, and an almost facist like devotion to the industry’s propoganda. Maybe it reflects the fact that mining is the only job available to them and they feel they must support that industry. While miners make around $80,000/yr working overtime and 6 days a week, how are they not outraged over salaries given to coal exectutives like Blankenship? While they mourn the death of their loved ones, (many dying at Massey owned mines) live in the poorest part of America, and struggle to pay their bills they must see little hope for a future. Especially when their elected officials continue to offer them the choice of working in mines with hundreds of safety violations or suggesting they leave their communities and go elsewhere for a different job. It is a sad situation for coal miners and for these people living in communties that are being bombed every day by MTR. If there is to be a future for the coal fields, it cannot happen if we sit by and allow this to continue. As Judy Bonds often said, ” If coal is so good for us, then why are we so poor and sick”. I am still waiting for our elected officials to answer that question. It seems coal is only good for the industry, their investors, and the politicians who are heavily funded by coal. For the rest of us, what will be left of us when coal is gone in a generation? Our homes and our health will be gone and we will be left with nothing. As Sen Byrd said, we must face the hard truths about the coal industry and look to the future. We must get serious about mine safety, we must get serious about diversifying the economy, we must stop MTR which is not only costing coal miners’ jobs but is destroying the land and people of the coal fields, and we must develop a plan for jobs that would break the enslavement of miners. – Mari Lynn Evans


“Most coal companies are hiring daily, unfortunately the majority of the applicants cannot pass a drug test. Others would rather live off the Government and complain to everyone else that they have nothing.”

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4 Responses to Don Blankenship’s Pay – comment by Mari-Lynn Evans

  1. walt says:

    If you lookup other CEO’s compensation you will find that Lawrence Culp of Danaher made 140 million, Lawrence Ellison of Oracle was nest and the CEO of Chesapeake Gas made 114 million, the CEO of Yum made 76 million. In reality Blankenship is far from the highest paid CEO. Does this information make you feel differently about these companies and their products?

    What does living the poorest part of America have to do with the miners salery? What would the poverty rate in this area be without the coal industry? If you think it’s bad now, can you picture what it would be without these hard working miners making the $80,000 a year?

    Mari, you live in West Virginia and you realize that 98% of your electricy comes from coal, so don’t you benifit from coal also.

    I’ve said it a hundred times surface mining does not take away underground mining reserves. I’m sure you already seen it, but I suggest you read Gene Kitts article titled “Why we surface mine”. It explains why areas are selected for surface mining vs underground mining.

    • mari-lynn says:

      No, the fact that Blankenship did not make over $76 million in salary does not change my position on the ridiculous disparity in pay between him and a non-union miner. It is outrageous.

      People who live in the coal fields are among the poorest in the country. Again, you explain why if coal is so great for the economy of the coal fields, these people are so pathetically poor.

      I read Mr Kitts article, and I even interviewed him at length, What I will say is this. When the Spruce Mine MTR did not get their permits, they opened 2 UNDERGROUND mines. Even though they also tell the story that they only MTR because it is the only way to get the coal. Even the industry admits that MTR has decreased the number of jobs for coal miners. How could it now? It is done w equipment and explosives.

      WV needs to offer its residents jobs. Job diversity, sustainable jobs, jobs working to reclaim the land that has already been destroyed, and other industries., As long as you are beholding to one industry -coal- then you will continue to be enslaved to their will AND THEY WILL CONTINUE TO MAKE MILLIONS WHILE YOU EAT BOLOGNA SANDWICHES. THEY WILL VACATION IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE WHILE YOU SAVE TO GO TO MYRTLE BEACH.

      I don’t work for coal (obviously) but if I did I would raise hell about the way miners and their families are treated by this generations’ coal thugs.

  2. walt says:

    Don’t you think there is a large dispairity between the other CEO’s and their workers? I don’t understand why you keep barking up this tree. This is not only confined to the coal industry as it is in every industry.

    Tell me what would people be doing if it weren’t for the coal industry? The fact is most of us wouldn’t be here today if our grandparents and great grandparents had not moved into this region to find work in the coal fields.

    Why is this region so poor? You’ve traveled the area, you know the situation as well as I do. Most of the people that live here are able to provide a good living for their family. However there are some that are content with living off government aid, while others think that drugs are more important than working or supporting their families.

    If they opened 2 underground mines it was not on the same property permitted for the surface mine. Did you really read Mr. Kitts article? If you had you would have known that more coal would have been produced by surface mining (you do realize that coal will not last forever) and that men would be working longer than if the area had been deep mined.

    It’s call technogology, miners are able to produce more coal per man hour than they were 50 years ago, just as automakers are able to build more cars with fewer people than they were 50 years ago, just as the farmer is able to produce more with less people (I think you get the point).

    Bring on other jobs, other industries, the more the marrier as far as I’m concerned. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m all for wind, solar, nuclar, gas, oil and coal, the experts are predicting that our power consumption will double in the next 25 years and were going to need them all.

  3. Joe says:

    Hey Walt,

    Which other industry had 29 deaths on their books recently? Name one, I’ll wait.

    Also, I hope you’re not connected to the land there. Because the coal industry is making sure that your grand kids will be moving away due to lack of jobs, or else becoming those welfare drug addicts you seem to despise. What else are they going to do when coal has got done raping and pillaging. All the while folks support it because they’re too afraid of losing the peanuts that the company throws at their feet.

    My grandad is a preacher in eastern KY and he doesn’t get it either. You all let these coal men use the name of God to promote what they’re doing. That is a sin and a goddamned shame. The Bible says that no one shall take the Lord’s name in vain. But you all cheer the men who use God’s name in their pursuit of money. The phrase “selling your soul” for money isn’t just a euphemism and the miners are just as guilty as the owners when they use God as a justification for their actions. And not a trace of shame about it either…

    Read your Bible. All sins are equal in the eyes of God and those who do not repent will face retribution. The mine owners are committing terrible sins and the miners that continue to sell their souls for a paycheck are too. Unless we recognize and repent of our sins we cannot be forgiven. If you are too proud to see and repent in this life, then you will not be forgiven in this life in the next.

    If you pray about it God will let you know that what is happening in those mountains is a sin against His creation. Once you know and don’t repent, you have committed a sin against God himself. He will not tolerate your pride and your lack of faith that he will give you another way to take care of your family.

    Why do you think the people in those mountains are suffering so badly recently? It’s because the sins of the mines are bleeding out and affecting everyone in the area. God’s creation is poisoning folks and God’s anger is displayed by the drug problems and poverty in the area. You don’t see it because you are too proud to see and repent for the sins against God’s creation.

    Not all mining is bad, but the Bible says to do all things in moderation. The way things are now is not moderation. It is excess and greed for the gratification and glorification of men. If you don’t know this then you need to pray about your soul. God shows His children what is right and wrong. If you don’t see how wrong it is and see the greed and your pride, then I have my doubts as to whether you are a child of God.

    I’ll pray for you and all of those that are continuing the sins of supporting the destruction of God’s work. I’ll also pray for the drug addicts and even those who use God’s name to rally fools to their own cause. May God open all of your hearts and eyes, because if he doesn’t then you’ll suffer even more than the land before long.

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