Thursday, September 6, 2012

Les Misérables - Mitt And The Miners

 Mandatory attendance at Romney rally: Coal Country Stands With Mitt! (or else...)

In case anyone was wondering: "Coal Country Stands With Mitt". Do you see those cheerful, confident miners who flanked the candidate on the stage in Beallsville while 'their' man Mitt talked about bootstraps, the need to shut down labor unions and the importance of making it job one to repeal the Affordable Care Act if/when Rmoney is elected.

Lest anyone suggest that Mitt Romney could not bring out a working, middle-class crowd unless he paid them, let us put that ungenerous thought where it belongs - in the "false" category. Mitt Romney, and his friends in the private energy industry most certainly could bring out a working, middle-class crowd without paying them. They could and they did!

Here comes Mitt's (unpaid!) audience!
No, really, they were not paid to attend.
Of course Mitt Romney did not have to pay those miners and their families to appear at his rally! Even Murray Energy/ Century Mine did not have to pay those miners to attend the rally on company time. That's the beauty of having a non-unionized workforce! The only thing the corporation needed to do was to close down the mine for the day and order its workers to attend the rally. The implied threat of unemployment if the employees failed to obey the directive was inducement enough to make the miners show up at the rally without their betters needing to resort to anything so unChristian as bribery - or even paying the day's wages to which one would have thought the workers might be entitled since they were attending a mandatory company activity.

Several news sources have reported the following facts: The plant was closed for the day and the workers were docked that day's pay. Then, all employees were instructed to attend the Romney/Ryan rally, many lining up for hours to be admitted, thus spending the entire involuntary day off doing the company's bidding - without pay. Just in case anyone had any crazy ideas about giving up and perhaps spending the day with their families, the line up was for registration - to make sure that each and every attendee's name was recorded - in person.

In fact, just to show how eager the non-unionized Beallsville miners were to make a public show of support for the Republican candidate, a spokesman for the mine unapologetically confirmed all of the above. Speaking from the corporate office on Chagrin Blvd (you can't make this stuff up) in Pepper Pike, OH, Murray CFO made the position crystal clear:

 “We had managers that communicated to our work force that the attendance at the Romney event was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend the event. We had a pre-registration list. And employees were asked to put their names on a pre-registration list because they could not get into the event unless they were pre-registered and had a name tag to enter the premises” Rob Moore, CFO Murray Energy.

So - yes, attendance at the rally being held on company property was mandatory, but - no, workers were not forced to go. Sure, the miners' names were recorded on a list, and sure they were told it was mandatory that they attend, but it's not like anyone held a gun to their heads and forced them to go!

Got that, America? In the new Republican corporate freedom lexicon, 'mandatory' no longer means 'forced' when it is used by the 1% to intimidate persuade the working class to do its bidding. Mind you, if the situation involves making it mandatory for corporations to pay a living wage or ensure safe working conditions for their employees, the word then most definitely means forced and it is an attack on the freedom of corporate citizens! It is an affront to our job-creators!

Listen: It's a free country, people. Workers have a right to disobey unfair corporate demands on their personal time while corporations have a right to fire people who won't go along with their political agenda. If the workers don't like it, they can just find another job with another corporate job-creator! If they cannot find another job, it must be their own laziness, so the devil take them! Who can argue with that? As Republicans keep telling us: that's the Republican American way and the RNC agenda is a platform to pull us back to the good old days before unions and worker protections lifted millions into the middle class ruined America for the 1%.

And what an agenda it is!  Platform planks promising to weaken unions, to work to eliminate a federal minimum wage, and completely repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act.  It is a working middle-class family's nightmare. Who needs unions, right?

But it is a dream come true for the top .01% - our beloved corporate 'citizens'. As Mitt Romney and his backers never cease to remind us, corporations are people, too, and these 'citizen' groups have thrown their hard-earned hundreds of millions at the struggling 99% to assert their "freedom". Now that's what I call people power!

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