Gustine, Merced County, California: Cal/OSHA has launched a sweeping, unprecedented investigation of California’s dairy industry after a spate of immigrant worker deaths. The San Francisco Chronicle carried an LA Times column by Lee Romney, Deaths of 3 immigrant workers dog state’s dairy industry, revealing worker deaths by passing out and drowning in enclosed pools of putrefacted liquid manure waste.
The circumstances of death are almost too horrible to describe. There was no explanation of what possible incentive workers might have to enter the stinking pump pits. Farmers were warned against “complacency”.
The article concludes with an inappropriately cutesy official pronouncement by Bill Krycia, Cal/OSHA’s agricultural enforcement coordinator. It is almost certain to warrant closer public scrutiny:
“California is now the No. 1 dairy state. We’re all very proud of them. They have happy cows,” Krycia said, referring to a dairy marketing campaign. “Now we want safe and healthy workers.”
Once we have happy cows, then we can have healthy workers?
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Career counseling projects a serious attitude problem about work
This letter was mailed to the San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday 3/4/2001. Its Sunday business section features an insert, conveniently located next to Help Wanted classifieds, titled “Career Search”. The feature column, entitled “Working Wounded”, lends an idea of the tone set by this newspaper section. Who, picking up on the attitudes expressed here, would deliberately choose a career in the San Francisco Bay Area geographic region? Here is how I addressed this issue.
Dear Dave Murphy,
I’ve read, or at least glanced at, the Career page for well over a decade. It’s seen me through at least two career transitions. I’m approaching the ten year mark with a company I like very much. My company has a strong future, and I like working with most of my coworkers and bosses. I learn a lot from them, and I enjoy what I’m doing tremendously. Of the inevitable few peers and “pointy-headed” types I may find more difficult to deal with in some areas, I’ve learned to work with their strong points, and work around the rest.
So, what’s the problem? Continue reading
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