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9/06/2005

United Mine Workers of America Kicks off "Blankenship Truth" Campaign

Source: UMWA

Declaring that "the people of West Virginia need to know the truth about who Don Blankenship is and what he represents," United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil E. Roberts today announced the beginning of a campaign that takes on the various misleading and self-serving ad campaigns sponsored by Blankenship and his company, Massey Energy.

The initial kick-off of the campaign begins today with a print ad placed in eight newspapers throughout the state, likening Blankenship to another famous Donald–New York's Donald Trump, often called "The Donald." Over time, the campaign will consist of occasional print ads, radio and TV spots, public events and more.

"We're not going to try to match The Donald dollar for dollar," Roberts said. "But we'll definitely be a strong voice for working families in the debate over the future of West Virginia."

Roberts noted that Blankenship has the highest pay of any CEO in the state of West Virginia, "and isn't shy about spending it. That's his right, but it doesn't make what he says right. He's had some success in driving the debate about issues in West Virginia, but when you look past the slick ads and misleading rhetoric, more often than not the solutions he advocates are the wrong ones for working families."

Roberts also said that a suit filed by Blankenship and Massey Energy against the UMWA and Roberts–which was dismissed last week by a Virginia judge–has not and will not intimidate the union or Roberts into silence. "Some may lay low and shut up in the face of The Donald's bullying tactics, but that just plays into his hands." he said. "If you let bullies get away with intimidation, it just makes them bolder. The UMWA and this union leader have never and will never give in to people who want to silence us."

The UMWA's print ads (attached to this release) are running in the Charleston Gazette, the Charleston Daily Mail, the Beckley Register-Herald, the Huntington Herald-Dispatch, the Morgantown Dominion-Post, the Clarksburg Exponent-Telegram and weekly papers in Putnam and Cabell counties.

UMWA - Blankenship Ad PDF


Massey and Blankenship lose more decisions in Virginia court as Judge throws out "fishing expedition"

Fairfax County, Va. Judge Jane Marum Roush today ruled against Massey Energy and its CEO, Don Blankenship, thwarting their attempts to shore up their suit against the Charleston Gazette and the West Virginia Citizens for Justice.

"Don Blankenship and Massey Energy have now lost three out of three rounds in their attempt to silence the voices of West Virginians," said United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) President Cecil E. Roberts. "Their case against me and the UMWA was dismissed last week.

Today they lost two more rounds, as their efforts to engage in a fishing expedition to drag the West Virginia Citizens for Justice (WVCJ) and the Charleston Gazette into a court they don't belong in were rebuffed."

Blankenship and Massey filed a defamation suit against the UMWA, Roberts, WVCJ and its head, West Virginia AFL-CIO President Ken Purdue, and the Gazette in Fairfax County, Va., in June. The UMWA's international headquarters are located in Fairfax County, but none of the other defendants are. WVCJ and the Gazette argued that any case against them should not have been filed in a Virginia court, since they had no ties to Virginia. Blankenship and Massey wanted to engage in discovery to see if there were any Virginia ties. Judge Roush denied their motion to do so.

"It's becoming more and more clear that this case never should have been filed," Roberts said.

"Blankenship and Massey filed this case in a blatant effort to shut us all up and send a chill over the First Amendment rights of every West Virginian who may have a different view from Blankenship's. I can't speak for anyone else, but this union and this union leader have every intention of continuing to speak out on issues important to our members and working families in West Virginia."

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