Murray Energy CEO, Robert Murray
In the month leading up to the election, quite a few business leaders used heavy-handed campaign tactics, pressuring their employees to support Mitt Romney, apparently at the candidate's behest. None, however, went as far as Robert Murray.
Last week, not surprisingly, the Republican donor was not at all pleased with the elections results, and he decided to respond to President Obama's success by laying off over 150 workers.
Robert E. Murray read a prayer to a group of company staff members on the day after the election, lamenting the direction of the country and asking: "Lord, please forgive me and anyone with me in Murray Energy Corp. 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."
On Wednesday, Murray also laid off 54 people at American Coal, one of his subsidiary companies, and 102 at Utah American Energy, blaming a "war on coal" by the Obama administration.
Murray Energy is the country's largest privately owned coal mining company, with about 3,000 employees producing about 30 million tons of bituminous coal a year, according to its Web site.
It's rare to see anyone in business be quite this spiteful for purely partisan reasons. As Dave Weigel noted, "There was no need for [Murray] to sack these people so quickly. There was no guarantee that he'd be dramatically more profitable in, say, March 2013. But he fired them, because he's basically amoral."
For the record, most of the high-profile business leaders who threatened their employees with post-election layoffs have not followed through, at least not yet.