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.”