Thursday, October 4, 2007

Utah Miner Families speak out on mine owner Bob Murray: ” I can’t stand to listen to the man.”

This story is both heart-breaking and infuriating. Ever wonder what the real definition of "canary in the coal mine" is? You can make a strong case that only a union can fill that role. Both the mine owners and the purported regulators have interests in concealing hazardous practices. The only ones with a real interest in preventing this tragedy from occurring were the miners themselves, but, without a union, they were powerless to act in their own behalf.

The free market ideologues who currently run the agencies in charge of regulating mine safety really don't believe in their jobs. They believe that workers who think the mines are unsafe are free to leave their job and find another. That sort of extremist approach allows preventable disasters like mine collapses (or, for that matter, levee failures) to occur, then blames the victims. Because the victims do not have any collective power to oppose this malfeasance by the regulators, they do not factor into the political equation.

If anyone needs proof why we need to restore the American union movement, take a look at this mine disaster. A strong union would have prevented it from happening.

Crooks and Liars:

mrsblack-utah-mines.jpgmrsphillips-utah-mine-family.jpg Some families testified yesterday in utter despair over their loss of a son and a husband. I’ve written a lot about the actions of the shady Utah mine owner Bob Murray. This is a heartbreaking look at how these families are dealing with the tragic deaths that happened in part because of the incompetent actions of Bob Murray.

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Sheila Phillips - Mother of miner Brandon Phillips:

“It’s just hard to have hope, and have your heart broke every day, and have your grandson grow up without a dad…And I’d like to talk a little bit about Mr. Murray — I didn’t go to very many of the meetings because I couldn’t stand to listen to the man. He was talking about one day when they were moving the drill holes, and they had the pad ready for one and then they decided to drill it somewhere else, and I asked him why they didn’t have two going… and he said ‘we could drill you 1,000 holes and it wouldn’t make any difference.’ (transcripts and Digby below the fold)

They would find him, wouldn’t they? If they drilled at least 1,000? I just miss him…I would like to know where my son is in that hole, so I can leave a marker on that mountain.”

Wendy Black - Wife of miner Dale “Bird” Black:

“I want to know, if there are rules and regulations made to protect the miners, then who is to be hold accountable to make sure these are being followed? Please at least have one person with enough backbone to say ‘no more.’ MSHA has one job: mine safety and health administration. It would have taken just one MSHA official or one official from the company doing his job to have saved my husband’s life. Which one of them wasn’t doing his job?”

Digby on Murray:

Tragically, a whole bunch of people have died and others are injured but so far, we’ve heard almost nothing about this “star’s” background in pushing unsafe mining techniques and anti-union policies and neither have we heard anything about the fact that the man Bush named to be the “mine safety czar” was such a bad choice for the job that he had to give him a recess appointment with a Republican congress…read on


Lucky13 said...

If I may quote you..."A strong union would have prevented it from happening."

There is NOTHING a union could have done to prevent this was an ACCIDENT! Accidents happen all of the time all over the world yet because of Bob Murray's political point of view the entire country wants to burn him at the stake. Bob Murray has always stood behind his belief that "no amount of coal is worth a single drop of blood."

I personally knew some of these men that lost their lives & my heart aches for their families but they were not forced to work in a coal mine. Miners & their families know the dangers associated with their jobs. Miners are in a league of their own, they are proud of what they do & this way of life runs deep in their veins. This couldn't be more obvious than given the fact that the three men who died during the rescue effort had VOLUNTEERED to be there. There was never anyone that was required to assist in the rescue. Literally hundreds of men, 24hrs a day for weeks on end tirelessly stepped up for this cause...the ones who were scared to go in were immediately given other positions on the surface or at one of the other mines. Bob Murray may have a lot of power but he is by no means God and this was God's will. Everything, good or bad, happens for a reason not even Bob Murray has can control destiny.

Adam Holland said...

To Lucky 13:

A union would have advocated for safer mining practices. A union would do so in the future to prevent a repeat of this disaster in other mines. Why do you oppose this?

If Bob Murray were a man of conviction, he never would have created this disaster with his reckless practices. Why do you choose to side with this hypocrite against the interest of those you know? He didn't have to be God, as you state, to prevent this tragedy. He just had to use safer mining techniques.

Your comment, and those of Bob Murray as well, utilize a strange technique familiar to those following the Iraq War. You imply, and Murray states outright, that opposing or even questioning him is an insult to the miners. President Bush pushes the same line: opposing him equals opposing the troops. Both arguments are self-serving and completely without any merit whatsoever.

You take a fatalistic attitude toward the loss of life in that mine. You say it was God's will. That is not an adequate defense for the men responsible for those deaths. Where is your sense of outrage? Where is their sense of shame? Who are they to hide behind religion?

Adam Holland said...


The comment from Lucky13 should be taken with the following in mind:

This person maintains a blog devoted entirely to the defense of Bob Murray. He found my blog through a Google search of the term "Bob Murray". Lucky13 may very well be under the employ of Bob Murray to do PR damage control -- stranger things have happened. He may not be a friend of the victims as he claims. I may be mistaken, but I believe based on the results of my analytic software that he wrote from Winter Park, Florida; a well-to-do area more likely to house a corporate shill than a friend of miners.

I just thought you'd like to know.


adamhollandblog [AT] gmail [DOT] com