RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Two people were arrested this morning as hundreds of miners and environmentalists joined forces to protest a Richmond based company. Standing outside Massey Energy's annual meeting at the Jefferson, they called for the resignation of the company's CEO.
They arrived by the hundreds, from seven different coal mining states. They began in Richmond's Monroe Park...
"We need to put people in power who are responsible and who care about their employees," said Daniel Kane, UMWA Secretary-Treasurer.
…Ready for a fight.
"Just like Moses marched to see Pharaoh, we are marching today to see the Appalachian Pharaoh," said UMWA Union President Cecil Roberts.
Led by Union President Roberts they marched down Franklin to the front of Richmond's historic Jefferson Hotel, where Massey Energy shareholders were meeting.
"It's time that the people in Washington that's got the power to bring Massey Energy in line and say enough is enough," said retired miner Charles Dixon.
They cited 52 deaths in 10 years, including the 29 last month in West Virginia, the worst U.S. mining disaster in 40 years. Inside the Jefferson, despite calls for ouster, three board members were re-elected.
In his shareholder's report Massey CEO Don Blankenship said quote, "Obviously something went terribly wrong at the mine, however we don't know yet the cause. The event that has brought great sadness to us all has also brought great attention to Massey."
The incident is under federal investigation, but the miners in Richmond want more.
"When things like this happen there's a tendency over time for it to go away. This is not going to go away. We are never going to let anybody forget about this. Because other minor's lives are at risk here," said Roberts.
The president of the union says he will testify about the mining disaster to a Senate committee hearing on Thursday. He says Don Blankenship is also expected to testify.