So tell me who is lying.
The unions stipulate that at least 12 workers a day across the country are being killed because the government isn’t funding OSHA to check on all the dangerous working conditions, especially for immigrant laborers who are more eager to work and not complain.
The Republicans, as we all are well aware, are trying, their best to reign in our national debt – and therefore our dependency on Chinese loans — by cutting the power of the unions, healthcare, and taxes on the rich.
And the Democrats… well, let me put it this way: When someone asks me what party I belong to, I reply that I am a member of no ‘organized’ political party – I am a democrat. I mean, the killing of Osama bin Laden the other day after months of dress rehearsals and millions of tax dollars, was almost scuttled when, once again, as in Desert One and Blackhawk Down, another overpriced helicopter crashed landed in combat. Fortunately, this time, it didn’t wreak as much havoc as when “Bubba” Clinton crashed landed on portly Monica.
The question that is trumpeting like Gabriel’s horn is whom do we trust? Who is telling the truth? Who is doing all the talking: Who is doing some of the listening. And how do we get America back to being America without killing our workers in far greater numbers every year than Osama bin Laden killed in one inglorious 911 day.
Part of this question was raised April 29th during the annual Worker’s Memorial Day fetes around the country. This year also happened to be the 100th anniversary of the ungodly, defining Triangle shirtwaist factory fire in New York. At least 146 garment workers were killed. Mostly because the fire exit doors were chained shut, putatively to prevent thefts and keep the mostly Italian and Jewish youthful female workers on the job.
One dynamic national union representative, calling for greater vigilance while decrying the climbing number of annual work related deaths, bellowed during a breakfast meeting last week: “What if we lost 12 soldiers a day in Afghanistan?”
The question practically punches itself out with answers. Changes would be instituted. Money would be found. Better safety procedures would be installed. Etcetera….etcetera…etcetera…
But what would really change? And I am not being cynical moi, here. Tragedy, in one form or another, would still strike. Someplace. Somehow. Somewhere.
It always does.
At the chicken processing plant fire in North Carolina killing 25 trapped behind locked fire doors. At yet another explosion in a coal mine in West Virginia killing 78 or 29 or 11 or six. At a deepwater oil rig in the Gulf killing 11. At the Tesoro refinery explosion in Washington State. At any construction site where another worker with no harness falls to his death. At a car wash of severe chemical burns. At a factory with chemical hazards that cause failing kidneys. At a race course where the car’s parachute failed to deploy. At a circus where the elephant stomped his trainer. Even on the back forty where the cow kicked the farmer.
And if not here, then over there. Somewhere. Someplace. In Bangladesh there have been over 200 factory fires in the last 20 years that killed over 450 workers and injured 5,000 – due to locked doors.
It just goes on and on. Arrogance. Ignorance. Stupidity. The stuff never sleeps. Neither does unchecked greed. And the perceived likelihood that since its inception in 1970 OSHA has never been given the tools or resources to enforce the law.
But, as we all know, even if it was funded properly, instead of having its funding cut further as initiated this year, that doesn’t mean folks – union or not — would be doing their jobs. And their job is not just to show up for work, but that would be nice. Their job is to seek solutions that can benefit both sides of the aisle for dignity, health and profits.
And meanwhile, the Republicans, industrialists and capitalists, — even those who manage to stifle the blood fomenting on their vampire fangs – contend they certainly don’t want to cause the death of anybody. But what the heck are they supposed to do?
And that is a legitimate question.
They can’t compete – obviously – in a world market including China and Bangladesh and so forth while meeting union wage demands and fulfilling ‘all’ the OSHA requirements.
It’s just too damn expensive, echoes the cry. If it isn’t the taxes, then it’s the wages. And the vast safety regulations just kick, punt and toss them out of the ball park. Although they conclude that matters are not as unsafe as the unions howl.
Management feels that unions should also work to make things safer and better on their own while keeping the costs down. It’s their workplace too. And that is particularly so when it comes to shoplifters and workers’ theft — otherwise known as shrinkage.
Listen to this: In the past decade Wal-Mart was sued for routinely locking its nightshift workers in its stores to “prevent theft”.
Yes, that is not kosher, even if you are not orthodox. However stores like Wal-Mart and Home Depot and all the rest, suffer millions of dollars far into the southern stratosphere in losses from goods that seem to disappear faster than our tax dollars building a highway to nowhere across Afghanistan.
And I well know the plight of department and chain stores with the the “daily heists” that are afflicting them. Years ago I used to smoke cigars with the proprietor of an off-the-road business establishment where you could get anything you want…exceptin’ Alice.
Nightwatchmen. Guards. Janitors and the lot, all recently off from work, would come in with new and still-in-the-box vacuum cleaners here, a camera there, a blender here, a microwave there, and tv’s everywhere. It was a regular Turkish bazaar with wonderful profit margins. Almost as wonderful as the profit margins ‘W’, Dick & Sodomites stole from the entire country.
Pretty soon all this stuff adds up to billions – even if you don’t think a billion dollars is worth what it used to be.
The retailers and executives are apoplectic that workers don’t grasp that stealing from the workplace hurts everybody.
And the workers and unions — when they aren’t in denial — maintain an insolence of ‘so what?’ They don’t steal nearly as much as the bosses do.
My answer to that is: so bloody what. Start your own bloody business. Then you’ll see that the advantage of being the boss: Instead of working 8-hour days, you now work 12-hour days. And getting paid, for most of the entrepreneurial part, for four hours. At most.
Capitalism ain’t nothing but war with the gloves off.
And the first casualty of war is: Truth.
After that it is all madness.
So we either learn to live together as brothers, or all die together as fools.
And that is going to injure – if not kill — us all, whether we have OSHA fully funded or not. It seems we have disregarded the admonishment: Don’t use a hatchet to remove a fly from a friend’s forehead.
And dats yDrewIS on DIS penal colony.