MURRAY Energy has confirmed to ILN it is cutting a total of 163 workers from its payrolls in Utah, West Virginia and Illinois, placing the blame for the furloughs directly on re-elected US President Barack Obama.
In four separate statements a spokesman for the producer said 54 employees were dismissed from the American Coal subsidiary in Galatia, Illinois, another 102 workers from its UtahAmerican division in central Utah and seven of its Kanawha Transportation Center were let go in Wheeling, West Virginia.
“Yes, Murray Energy Corporation has been forced to make some personnel layoffs but far more will come,” the company said.
Spokesman Gary Broadbent called the layoff decision “difficult and complicated”.
“First, the Obama administration’s war on coal has already destroyed coal markets and resulted in the need for some layoffs,” he said.
“Second, the layoffs were more severe due to the anticipation of further damage to coal markets caused by the Obama administration’s disastrous war on coal.”
According to the company’s data, this year’s production will be down significantly from a historic high of 1.2 billion tons annually to 825Mt.
Murray also cited a recently released study from the American Coalition for Clean Coal Energy that revealed a projected closure of 204 coal-fired power plants by 2014.
“Because our coal markets are being so drastically reduced in some regions and, at some of our companies at greater rates than the national industry, there is nowhere to sell our coal and when we can, the market prices are far lower,” the producer said.
“Without markets, there can be no coal mines and no coal jobs.”
A prayerful announcement
Murray Energy chief executive officer Robert Murray made his furlough announcements Friday afternoon, meeting with about 50 employees at a private meeting.
He offered a prayer that spoke volumes about how the longtime industry magnate, always one to tell it straight, felt about last week’s re-election.
Murray’s prayer is as follows:
The American people have made their choice. They have decided that America must change its course, away from the principles of our founders. And away from the idea of individual freedom and individual responsibility.
Away from capitalism, economic responsibility and personal acceptance.
We are a country in favor of redistribution, national weakness and reduced standard of living and lower and lower levels of personal freedom.
My regret, Lord, is that our young people, including those in my own family, never will know what America was like or might have been. They will pay the price in their reduced standard of living and, most especially, reduced freedom.
The takers outvoted the producers. In response to this, I have turned to my bible and in II Peter, chapter 1, verses 4-9 it says, ‘To faith we are to add goodness; to goodness, knowledge; to knowledge, self control; to self control, perseverance; to perseverance, godliness; to godliness, kindness; to brotherly kindness, love.’
Lord, please forgive me and anyone with me in Murray Energy for the decisions that we are now forced to make to preserve the very existence of any of the enterprises that you have helped us build.
We ask for your guidance in this drastic time with the drastic decisions that will be made to have any hope of our survival as an American business enterprise.
Foreseeing the future
Murray also offered his outline for the future of the nation, as well as his projections for what is to come in the industry.
In it, he warned that the coal mining community should be ready for reduced power consumption and the total destruction of the coal industry by as early as 2030.
Among his points Murray noted that private companies in coal would, at some point, abandon the business.
He stressed that the company must prepare for that day and “we cannot bleed cash waiting for our competitors to be eliminated”
“We must totally go into survival mode and generate all the cash that we can from whatever we still have left that can help us,” Murray said.