Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition

UMWA, Massey neighbors and Enviros Speak Truth To Massey Shareholders

May 20, 2003
Photos by Vivian Stockman

Page 1
See sidebar for links to other pages

Reality a challenge to Massey Energy's CEO Don Blankenship 

Special note for Marriott security personnel and others investigating the miners, coalfield residents and environmentalists who dare to speak up about what seems to us to be acts of corporate terrorism committed by Massey Energy: Welcome to OVEC's website. One of your team asked for our website address so he could check out our photos and "save on developing the film" he took of people picketing the Massey Energy shareholders' meeting. No doubt, he'd like to identify and investigate us, too.  

As you will see, we have nothing to hide. We are peacefully practicing our right to free speech as we expose what Massey is doing to our communities, to the environment, to organized labor and to our future. 

We suggest your time will be better spent investigating Massey Energy. You may even want to shine the light on your own company, Marriott International, which has invested in what are apparently sham "synfuel" companies, which are allegedly bilking American taxpayers for billions of dollars. No wonder Massey holds its annual meetings at Marriott hotels. Perhaps your time will be better spent investigating these companies, rather than the senior ladies of Sylvester who are working to save their homes from Massey Energy, the self-proclaimed "good corporate neighbor."  

There ain't no power like the power of the people, cause the power of the people don't stop! --traditional protest chant

Many thanks to Massey Energy for helping to solidify the good relationship between the United Mine Workers of America, coalfield residents and environmental activists. While enviros and miners don't (yet!) agree on all coal-related issues (why not envision the United Mine and Alternative Energy Workers of America?), we sure do agree that Massey Energy is a terrible corporate neighbor. 

So, UMWA ferried two van loads of enviros and/or citizen activists and six vanloads of miners to Chantilly, Va. for the annual Massey Energy stockholders' meeting.  Two years ago, Massey held the meeting in Charleston, W. Va., and we greeted the shareholders with protests, as we did last year when the meeting was in Richmond, Va.  As an assistant to UMWA president Cecil Roberts said, "They can run, but wherever they are going, we are going too."

By 8 a.m., over 100 of us where stationed outside the Marriott grounds with signs denouncing Massey's bad corporate behavior. We couldn't picket directly outside the meeting, as Massey this time chose a hotel without any public sidewalks surrounding it. Hmmm...will next year's meeting be in Qatar?

Several union members passed out to stockholders a scathing May Forbes Magazine article on Don "Sinkingship" Blankenship, as well as a list of all of Massey's environmental disasters since its massive Oct. 2000 sludge spill from a coal waste impoundment at a mountaintop removal site in Kentucky. 

By the time all the stockholders were inside the meeting, we put down our signs and marched inside peacefully to a meeting room the Union rented. Marriott security personnel where obviously nervous, though we abided by all their requests. 

16 people from our miners-residents-enviros coalition had shareholder proxies and were thus able to enter the meeting. UMWA president Cecil Roberts, Coal River Mountain Watch's Judy Bonds, Sylvester resident Mary Miller and Carolyn Johnson of Citizens Coal Council each gave Blankenship and the Massey board of directors a vigorous scolding (see news accounts in sidebar).  The shareholders then kicked some corporate butt by overwhelmingly voting (72%) to limit future severance packages for company big shots.

Maybe a little reality finally hit Don Blankenship and the Massey big boys in the only place they have any feelings--their bank accounts

The vans arrive.


Massey offers so many "sign opportunities" as it messes with people --even
their own stockholders-- and the environment in so many ways.

UMWA president Cecil Roberts, center, speaks with coalfield residents.

UMWA's Mike Caputo (white shirt in center), also a WV House of
Delegates member from Marion County, listens as the rally begins.

Marriott security snaps pictures of people exercising their rights.

Elaine Purkey belts out a protest tune
while UMWA's Donnie Samms holds the mike.

Page 1
See sidebar for links to other pages


     OVEC Home   Issues   Contact   Join   Site Map