From Anthony Caldwell at Ohio’s Fight for a Fair Economy:
Hundreds of Ohio’s workers and supporters of the 99% gathered in solidarity outside the Cuyahoga County Republicans headquarters yesterday for to rally against the economic agenda of Romney, Ryan and John Kasich. Leaders from labor and allied groups including Samara Knight of SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH, Harriet Applegate of the Northshore AFL-CIO, Dawn Ring of Move-On and Debbie Silverstein of SPAN Ohio spoke passionately about what a Romney/Ryan economic agenda means for Ohio and the nation.
Ohio’s workers know that they cannot afford to see continuous cuts to vital programs and services that keep the middle-class strong. They understand that education and healthcare are both at risk and could very well be on the chopping block if a Romney/Ryan agenda is enacted.
The 99% will not stand by as the 1% profits from tax loopholes for big corporations. They will not stand by as Medicare ends as we know it and instead is replaced with an expensive voucher system. Ohioans know that a Romney/ Ryan agenda will be balanced on the backs of an already struggling middle-class.
Cleveland was joined today by other cities as workers and supporters of the 99% gathered in solidarity across the nation.
Earlier this month, Mitt Romney stopped at an Ohio coal mine to “promote jobs in the coal industry,” but workers who appeared at the rally “lost pay because their mine was shut down.”
It begs the question: Was Mitt Romney there to promote workers’ jobs or coal industry profits?
Workers were told that the August 14th event would be both mandatory and unpaid, conceded Murray Energy Chief Financial Officer Rob Moore in a West Virginia radio station interview yesterday.
And now workers from the plant are speaking out, telling talk show host David Blomquist that they feared they’d be fired if they didn’t attend the campaign rally.
Blomquist “said that he got multiple emails and phone calls from Murray Energy workers who felt that they were intimidated into attending Romney’s appearance. He said employees were told they’d have to forfeit the day’s pay unless they could make up their missed hours on overtime or weekends.”:
“My whole point is that nobody should be pressured into attending anyone’s political event,” Blomquist told The Plain Dealer. “If they shut the mine down, why should they lose a day’s pay? There are some guys that just want to go to work, feed their family and go home.”
Moore defended his company’s actions by explaining “that managers ‘communicated to our workforce that the attendance at the Romney event was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend.’”
Perhaps Moore and Murray Energy should reexamine their understanding of the word “mandatory.”
A closer look by the Plain Dealer found “that Murray Energy has contributed more than $900,000 to Republican candidates in the last two years.”
Fight for a Fair Economy Ohio’s Elisabeth Hasbany has the story from this Tuesday’s FirstEnergy Shareholder Meeting:
“For years FirstEnergy hasn’t paid their fair share of taxes, earned massive profits while using dirty coal facilities. To protest a system that is rigged against the customer, the Fight for a Fair Economy and the Sierra Club united against this greedy corporation at their annual shareholder meeting on May 15, at 10am.”
“Community members and activists wanted to present their theory of change to FirstEnergy executives, so they secured FirstEnergy stock shares to attend the meeting. However, FirstEnergy executives unceremoniously left the meeting without speaking to their constituents. ‘Their abrupt departure leaves us to assume they are either do not know enough about their company to answer basic questions or they are afraid to acknowledge the truth to their shareholders’ said Kate Patt. ‘Either way, the company embarrassed themselves in front of their shareholders and the media.’
“While FirstEnergy refused to answer to their consumers, this new coalition of community, faith and labor groups brought attention to the economic and environmental injustice and raised the voice of the 99%. They now know that the community will not allow them to put profits over people.”