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View Diary: Kitchen Table Kibitzing 3/25/2014: Triangle Shirtwaist Fire (167 comments)

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  •  Really fine diary, belinda. I thank you for (1+ / 0-)
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    belinda ridgewood

    honoring the memory of those who perished needlessly 103 years ago, and the grief of all the hundreds more who mourned them.

    You provide great links, too, something I really appreciate seeing in a diary like this when good resources exist.

    Unfortunately, worker protections are not really all that much better today, despite the advances in OSHA laws. Such as they are, they represent some progress, but there is clearly so much farther to go.

    I am not a lawyer, but I did have a lengthy conversation a while ago with an attorney, David M. Uhlmann, who was once lead prosecutor of environmental crimes in the Justice Department. He now specializes in teaching  environmental law and occasionally writes about the overlap between enviro and labor law.

    He published an article in 2009 in which he reported that even now, legal penalties for companies whose workers are injured or killed on the job are woefully inadequate, often stronger on grounds of environmental violations than on violations of worker safety. (The worst penalty under OSHA is six months, after conviction under a Class B misdemeanor--if the worker dies.)

    The following description of the grotesque shortcomings in protections and penalties comes from a footnote in this article, in which he quotes his own op-ed in the New York Times of 5/27/2008:

    In the 38 years since Congress enacted the Occupational Safety and Health Act, only 68 criminal cases have been prosecuted, or less than two per year, with defendants serving a total of just 42 months in jail. During that same time period, approximately 341,000 people have died at work, according to data compiled from the National Safety Council and the Bureau of Labor Statistics by the AFL-CIO.
    We still have work to do.

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    by peregrine kate on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 10:21:22 PM PDT

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