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An unlikely headline for say, the United States.

Can you imagine any executive going to prison for the illegal things they do in the name of profit? But it happened, in an Italian court, where due to unsafe working conditions at a Turin plant 7 workers died. This happened in 2007; don't worry if you don't read Italian- a manifold burst, covering workers in flaming coolant, and when they used water to extinguish the flames, they caused a flash fire.

The outcome of the investigation by Italian authorities? Convictions. The Director General of the corporation got 16.5 years in prison. Four executives were sentenced to 13.5 years, and a fifth was sentenced to 10 years in prison. The corporation was also fined 1 million euros.

Thyssen-Krupp has a long history of being a corporation that cuts corners. In 1985, investigative journalist Günter Wallraff took a page from Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" and posed as a Turkish inspector and documented the systematic neglect of workplace regulations and recklessly endangering worker safety in his book "The Lowest of the Low."

Thyssen-Krupp is also responsible for using Kevlar cables in their elevators instead of steel-braided cables. Most of their ISIS units are unsafe, and after cables snapped, the corporation returned to using steel braid.

Thyssen-Krupp was found guilty of price fixing in 2006 in the EU relating to their elevator business (along with a few other corporations). None of the corporations named contested the facts and elected to just pay the fine. None wanted a trial.

Is Thyssen-Krupp doing business in the United States? It sure is- in Alabama, and the Alabama Port Authority has ponied up $100 million to build a slab terminal to work in conjunction with the proposed North American steel facility by TK USA.

Can you imagine what would happen if CEOs actually went to prison for system wide safety neglect that results in the deaths of workers? Do you think that Big Coal would keep trying to skirt the law? Do you think that the Gulf disaster would have claimed so many workers in the initial explosion? Do you think that if executives knew they would be held responsible for their corporation's malfeasance, and not just pay a fine if caught, that these practices would continue?

Originally posted to ravagerofworlds2 on Sat Apr 16, 2011 at 05:09 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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