For Immediate Release:
The worst mining accident in the United States since 1970 has occurred in West Virgina. It has been reported that the company, Massey Energy, and the Upper Big Branch Mine specifically has been cited at least 300 times in the past two to three years for violations of OSHA safety standards. Furthermore, the lack of a union for the coal miners in this mine in particular and for miners and other workers who are employed by Massey Energy has also contributed to this mining problem, costing the lives of 29 workers.
It is in light of these facts that the American Party of Labor calls for the state of West Virgina to charge Don Blankinship, C.E.O. of Massey Energy, with the maximum allowable penalties including involuntary manslaughter. Mr. Blankinship has said himself publicly that his mines routinely do not follow standard safety protocols because these regulations are “nonsensical” from a “mining” standpoint. This of course should be translated into English that the safety regulations are regularly ignored because following them would cut into Massey Energy’s profit margins.
This tragedy, while poignant and shining a bold light on an industry that has been traditionally malevolent towards the very workers they exploit, also exposes the “mule is more valuable than the man” mentality going back to the 19th century and reveals the truth: that capitalism only works for the capitalists.
We call for the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act in Congress, we call for prosecution of Don Blankinship for his role in the deaths of these men and we call for the unionization of all mine operations throughout the country.