Environment

It Couldn’t Happen to a Nicer Piece of Shit

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

What we've seen coming since at least 2012 has finally happened as Murray Energy, the largest private coal company in the country, has declared bankruptcy.

The company famous for forcing miners to lose a day's pay so they could appear in a campaign ad for former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney...

...is apparently going to screw those same miners out of their pensions and benefits.

From Bloomberg:

Murray Energy Holdings Co. filed for Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Columbus, Ohio, to restructure more than $2.7 billion of debt. The miner -- the largest privately owned U.S. coal company -- reached a restructuring support agreement with lenders who hold more than 60% of a $1.7 billion loan, the company said in a statement. The deal provides a new $350 million loan to keep operations going during the reorganization. [...]

The lender agreement calls for the reorganized company to reject any existing collective bargaining agreement between the company and employees, the disclosures show. Murray, which has more than 5,000 employees -- 2,400 of whom are active union members -- said it faces more than $8 billion in liabilities for various pensions and benefit plans.

“We have high-powered legal, financial and communications teams in place that will fight to protect our members’ interests in the bankruptcy court,” United Mine Workers of America International President Cecil E. Roberts said in an emailed statement.

The Trump regime gave CEO Bob Murray almost everything he wanted short of mandating that regional utility authorities purchase dirty, expensive coal. But some states, including Murray's home state of Ohio, passed their own laws to bail out dying coal-fired power plants.

In the end, state interventions won't matter either because the era of Big Coal is behind us.

Using coal made some amount of sense when it was cheapest form of energy, but that is no longer exclusively the case and it's worse for the environmental than every other option.

Murray's employees do not deserve the lose the benefits they've worked for even if Murray himself deserves the worst possible outcome.

  • Draxiar

    Hillary Clinton when she said, “We’ll be putting a lot of coal mines out of business” was referring to giving the miners help seeking a new career with training and such because green energy was inevitable and rising fast. Now those miners have jack shit and jack left town.

  • muselet

    Restructuring debt typically means screwing employees. And, sure enough:

    The lender agreement calls for the reorganized company to reject any existing collective bargaining agreement between the company and employees, the disclosures show.

    Bob Murray won’t lose a single cent by putting Murray Energy Holdings through Chapter 11. The lenders won’t lose a single cent. The working-class employees will lose big, at which point Murray, his company shills and Righty media will screech that it’s all the fault of them rascally Demonrats what hates coal miners!

    It’s all so depressingly predictable.

    –alopecia

  • mnpollio

    You are correct that no one deserves to lose the benefits they have worked for, especially when they have a boss as noxious as Murray.

    That said, I have limited patience and sympathy for the coal industry workers. They have been more than happy to prop up candidates like Bush, McCain, Romney and Trump and freely be used as mindless cheerleaders and props in return for transparent nonsense from the Republicans about coal’s renaissance being around the corner.

    Murray and his conservative colleagues in politics have de-regulated the coal industry to the point of nonexistence and increased the chances of the coal workers to be maimed or killed in easily avoidable accidents. When those accidents happen, the coal workers demand someone look out for them and try to help them. Yet any time anyone tries to honestly help them by discussing the reinstatement of protective regulations or strategically training them and moving them into a different line of work that actually may have a future that does not involve a mining collapse or black lung, Murray and his ilk easily manipulate them to go after these helpers like they are Public Enemy No. 1 and the coal workers falls for it every time. Usually bleating the whole way about these people not appreciating their culture and their way of life. Well they slapped away the helping hands and now life has intervened and is taking its pound of flesh. It is unfortunate, but to say that these people were not their own worst enemies and hastened events like this would be an understatement of vast proportions.

    The sad part is that Murray will probably live out his days in comfort from the money he made off their backs. But will his employees ever acknowledge that and hold him accountable? Will they hold the conservatives that enables Murray’s behavior accountable? I doubt it, because it takes level of analysis and introspection that they do not seem to possess. More likely they will simply blame liberals, immigrants, environmentalists and big cities for their problems…you know, the usual suspects.