by Andy Brownfield
CREDO Action petitioning Labor Department to investigate Murray Energy
The activist branch of a liberal telecommunications company
has filed a petition asking the U.S. Department of Labor to investigate
allegations that Murray Energy forced miners in Beallsville, Ohio to
attend a rally for Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney.
CREDO Action Campaign Manager Josh Nelson told CityBeat that the group emailed the petition with 4,021 signatures to the Department of Labor Wednesday morning.
The petition reads: "Requiring employees to attend a Mitt
Romney political rally without pay is totally unacceptable. I urge you
to conduct a thorough investigation to determine whether Murray Energy
violated any federal laws on August 14th, and to hold it fully
accountable if it did."
Romney appeared at the event to attack what he called
President Barack Obama’s “war on coal.” He was flanked on stage by
hundreds of miners with soot-stained faces.
Dozens of those miners told WWVA-AM West Virginia talk
show host David Blomquist that they were pulled from the mine before
their shift was over and not paid for the full day of work. The miners,
who Blomquist did not identify, said they were told that attendance at
the rally was mandatory.
Murray Energy Chief Financial Officer Rob Moore told
Blomquist on his radio show that managers “communicated to our workforce
that the attendance at the Romney event was mandatory, but no one was
forced to attend.”
He said that people who did not show up to the event,
which organizers say drew 1,500 miners and family members, were not
penalized for their absence.
“Forcing Ohio workers to participate in a political rally
is unacceptable, so we're joining our friends at SEIU in calling on the
U.S. Department of Labor to conduct an investigation to determine
whether or not any federal laws were broken,” Nelson wrote in an email
to CREDO Action’s Ohio activists on Sept. 1.
A spokeswoman for the Labor Department was not immediately
able to confirm whether the department had received the petition or
planned to launch an investigation.
This post will be updated with comment from the Labor Department when it becomes available.