Don Blankenship: Wanted man?

Despite the intense media glare focusing on the BP man made disaster engulfing the Gulf, the leaders of Massey Energy haven’t been able to slink away unnoticed. Thanks in part to your efforts, they are being held accountable for their roles in the preventable deaths of the 29 West Virginia miners in April.

So far, over 14,800 American Rights at Work activists have signed our petition to fire Massey CEO Don Blankenship (Sign here if you haven’t yet). And over 1,000 people showed up at the company’s headquarters in Richmond, VA, to protest in person.

There hasn’t been an immediate and total victory – Blankenship and other Massey leaders haven’t been fired or arrested – but there’s been amazing progress towards accountability so far.

First, there was Massey’s board meeting. Board meetings at corporations are usually boring, self-congratulatory affairs. But not this time. Instead, three Massey Energy board members who were up for re-election were barely re-elected, by a razor-thin 1.3% margin. Outside the meeting, thousands of protesters chanted “send Don to Jail!”

Then, there were Congressional hearings. Days Later, Don Blankenship was grilled by Senators including Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV), who said of Massey, “I cannot fathom how an American business could practice such disgraceful health and safety policies, while at the same time boasting about its commitment to the safety of its workers.” And last Monday, members of the U.S. House of Representatives traveled to West Virginia to interview Upper Big Branch victims’ family members.

And the FBI is conducting a criminal investigation of the Upper Big Branch mine tragedy. According to The Wall Street Journal, “The FBI wants to find out whether certain safety devices and procedures were bypassed or tampered with, among other things.” And Blankenship is running scared. He showed up at his Senate hearing with not just Massey’s General Counsel, but Robert Luskin, a well-known a criminal defense attorney.

The bottom line? Blankenship hasn’t been fired yet, but your actions are working – and we’ll keep fighting for accountability. You can help – sign our petition today.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 1st, 2010 at 2:30 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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