Coming to work to die | Street Jazz

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Coming to work to die

Posted By on Thu, Apr 18, 2013 at 2:13 PM

In the several decades I spent punching a time clock, I saw many horrific examples of what can happen to a human body, but no one ever died where I worked, thanks to whatever saints still watch over the American worker.

True, there were stories of a man crushed to death by one of the large industrial robots at a wheel plant I once worked at, but it was before my time.

Even so, 4500 of us were killed on the job in 2010, which was up three percent from the year before.

Last night, scores of our working class brothers and sisters were killed in an explosion in a fertilizer plant in Texas. The sheer number of dead boggles the imagination.

One can only pray it was over in an instant for most of them.

Supposedly, there was a strong ammonia smell last night, and in fact, despite the paranoid rantings of the conservative crowd about OSHA, the plant had not been inspected in five years.

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/04/18/1886991/west-texas-fertilizer-plant-hadnt-been-inspected-in-the-past-five-years/

In fact, due to the deliberate under-funding of OSHA (how many workers have to die?) a fertilizer plant such as the one which blew up last night might face an inspection only once every six decades or so.

At some point, sheer moral repugnance must overcome petty political beliefs, and folks must come to the realization that the lives of those who produce our goods and services simply need to take priority over profits.

Over convenience.

We can not call ourselves a “pro-life” culture if we don’t honor the men and women who work in this country.

******

Why it is perfectly all right to make a political issue of worker safety - especially at a time like this

There are those armchair philosophers who would decry any move to “politicize” the deaths of those who worked and died in the Texas plant, but now is exactly the right time.

For years, people who aren’t working class have made issues of their paychecks, their benefits, their health benefits . . . and yes, their safety on the job. They quote Ayn Rand as though she actually knew anything about humanity.

They quote millionaires.

But for any of them to offer their shopworn opinions now, today, this week, would make them the intellectual and moral equivalent of the Westboro Baptist Church.

*****

Quote of the Day

There is more than a morsel in the saying, “He who hates vice hates mankind.” - W. MacNeile Dixon

rsdrake@cox.net

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