Friday, August 05, 2005

We Get Comments (But not enough)

One of my biggest disappointments with this blog is that it's not more interactive. I look forward to each and every one, and I often use your suggestions. (And I also welcome those who disagree with my rants. I may respond or others may respond, using spirited language, but I always enjoy the exchange nevertheless.)

But while the quality of the comments is high, the quantity is low, very low. And more rare than single comments are multiple comments that actually approach a conversation. Is it because you're all too busy, or you've never noticed that little "Comment" link below each post? Or maybe you don't have much to say (which I sincerely doubt, knowing my readership as I do.)

So to inspire more commenting (both reading them and writing them), I've listed a few of the most recent comments below. Read them, and then try a few yourselves. Who knows, you might like commenting so much that you'll be inspired to start your own blog.


From the story Jail! about the killing of a construction worker in a trench collapse. The construction company, Sunesis Construction was under contract for the City of Cincinnati.
The freakish thing about this is that the newspapers and media cannot seem to get it into their heads that these things are not accidents, freak or otherwise, but unforgiveable, concious omissions made for the sake of a few dollars more.

When I was an AFSCME member at the City of Portland Oregon in the early 80's, one of the public works inspectors - not an AFSCME member - was proud(?!) to tell me that the City had won a court ruling that held that the City could NOT be cited when a contractor under its control was violating state OSHA regs - that the city did not have to "enforce" OSHA regs nor had any leal responsibility to call OSHA when a city inspector could not get compliance.

I imagine the ruling still stands and could be similar in other states. Pretty shameful.

Of course, the fear municipalities have of lawsuits for failing to pick the lowest bidder, no matter their safety record, is also a factor.

Regarding my disappointment that so many Democrats had voted for the Energy Bill givaway to the Bush Administration's corporate friends.
Democrats? We got VERY FEW goddamned DEMOCRATS left in the party. I am mad as hell...sad and mad...thanks for a great post. I blogged a link back here...

-- Joe | Left Edge North

I have to agree with the first post. There are damned few Democrats out there worth a damn. It is time to take our country back and many of the useless democrats have got to go. The talk a good story, but are ineffective.

It is going to take some of us putting our foot down and running for congress ourselves. If Dean can raise as much money as he did using the internet and get his message across on line, these offices are open to us working people.

We need to take back our government and our country.

-- Frank Shiflett

And then my post about whether the two safety and health resolutions passed at the AFL-CIO convention were just a bunch of hot air.
Good point Jordan, and it does seem somehow doubtful that the national AFL-CIO will be able to do much in regard to health and safety with tens of millions of dollars less a year than it had before. I can't help but wonder, as a handful of folks speculate on what the Change to Win folks are going to do and what it means for labor, if you or any of your readers have heard a thing from the IBT, SEIU or other Coalition members on resurrecting health and safety in organizing drives?

-- brendan, The Coyne Spin

The attacks are coming on health and saefty? Every Monday we have a safety meeting at our work site. We talk about no screaming, taking things slow, and so on. But as soon as the meeting breaks the foreman is screaming work is balls out and all the official rules go out the window. There are two sets of rules and what is said in safety meetings and what happens on the worksite seem to belong in two diffrent galaxies. It seems like they just want us to put our John Hancock on a piece of paper saying you understood company policy to cover their own rear ends.

-- Chris Snyder, Citizen Chris

I work in the health and safety realm for SEIU and I work with our health care organizing campaigns to integrate health and safety.

And it's high time we stopped looking to Washington. D.C. to do our health and safety work. All the action is in the states now. Fed-OSHA is dead, comrades.

-- John Mehring

This comment elaborated on my post about the difficulty training programs are having attracting Hispanic trainees.
Employers need to take into consideration that there are many Latinos who are illiterate or read at an elementary school level. When I worked as the safety manager of a plant with mostly latinos, I also learned that often those who are less-educated don't always grasp concepts in the same way as those who are used to classroom situations, tests, etc. Safety quizes and tests were especially difficult for many of the workers and we had to come up with other ways of learning. A regular training/classroom atmosphere that most Americans are used to is intimidating to a lot of these workers. Oregon OSHA has created a great program of simple trainings that can be used in English and Spanish, it's called the PESO program and you can find it on their website I used it several times.

-- Alicia

These comments were inspired by one of the many posts on heat-related deaths in California and the state's efforts to issue an emergency regulation.
Why not just arrest the employer for reckless endangerment? It is a crime in most jurisdictions to recklessly put people's lives in danger, so why not enforce it? A good criminal action would clearly indicate that impunity will no longer be tolerated (especially if derivative tort suits followed).

-- jalrin

It's hot every summer, every day in the Central Valley of CA, and other southwestern states for that matter. In Caifornia there's been talk of a heat standard for years, and years, and years. When I was on the Cal-OSHA Advisory Committee (on behalf of SEIU) during the 1990s I remeber talk about a once again considering a heat rule and the convening of a rulemaking advisory committee on heat. It was just talk. And each year a few workers die. And finally more than a few die in a short span of time, and they are actually recorded as heat-related, and we get the appearance of DOING SOMETHING with this proposed emergency standard. Even if it passes, the emergency rule must then go into the regular rulemaking progress to be made final/permanent. I don't see much reason to believe the same forces that prevented a rule for all these years in CA and nationally will not effectively stop a final rule once more, once summer is over and deaths out of the news.

-- Maggie in California

Then there were several comments on my review of the Wall St. Journal article raising Unsettling Questions at BP Texas City
At the same time this WSJ article ran, BP announced its 2nd quarter results for shareholders: the company profits exceeded $4.9 BILLION for the quarter, which included at $700 million charge to settle claims from the March explosion at the Texas City plant which killed 15 workers. Sadly, just another cost of doing business, but obviously a $700 million hit is not big enough to compel BP to change their practices and PREVENT similar incidents. At 6:00 pm on Thursday, July 28 another huge blast occurred at the plant.

-- Celeste Monforton

Indiana regulators fined BP $1,625 over the incident.
That oughta do it. Sigh.

-- Savage

"If BP has a culture of safety," WHY's like the Bush/Cheney gang's "culture of life"! The dark days are NOW. Reagan and his crew were chumps compared to THIS gang of criminals!

-- Joe, Left Edge North

And let's remember that BP likes to portray itself as the tree-hugging oil company in its ads and statements. They're against global warming the same way they are for worker safety.

-- Henry
And the prize for the shortest (and pithiest) comment goes to "la" who commented on my review of the Washington Post op-ed on the lives of meatpacking workers:

Where is Upton Sinclair when you need him?
-- la