Thursday, July 10, 2008

Safety is not job one

To-day, once again, the essential meanness of management raised its stupid head. Now, car plants, thanks to the UAW and the Big Three's wanting to avoid liability, actually practice safety (to some quantifiable degree). Of course, they emphasize simple, visual compliance, but actually do encourage and demand compliance, on occasion, of weightier concerns. Now, it is said, in the public relation, piffle propaganda, that, safety is job one.

The situation: one man is working in a basket lift, between presses and other equipment. The lift is telescoped out and the basket is needled into position. Plant rules are very simple: one man in lift, one man on the ground, if caught disregarding rule, then both men removed from the facility and a one year ban.

General foreman and office representative for the employing electrical contractor notice ground man. General foreman approaches groundman, and tells him he can be bending pipe, while other man is in lift. Pipe bending machinery for rigid pipe and pipe threading machine are a distance away, not very far away, but totally out of eyesight from lift. Clear violation.

All involved know the rules, but the presumed judgment, that, the groundman is shirking work and is not being productive and profitable is foremost of concern. The groundman is a target of management for correction and ultimate dismissal. The presumption of guilt is automatic.

Job requirements and customer demands are reflected in the bid for the work, if it is not, it is completely the fault of the contractor and his representative(s). But, the workman is the victim, scapegoat, and the problem to be solved.

This is only one example, but it is entirely indicative of management's and ownership's modus operandi. Rule over the men, and squeeze every moment of time, and every imaginable cent out of them. This is why contracts need to be followed, and why business needs regulation. Unregulated, industrial production causes worker injury and death. The Republicans, fascists and libertarians do not want government regulation, or a strong and organised labor force.

To add to the hypocrisy, just recently, we were buffaloed about "the code of excellence" ( a recent post), same employer, same union, same customer, different location. Ford has its demands, but they are not secret. They may be inconsistent in their application, the contractors are, bloody damn well, consistent in their behavior.

All construction work is not the same. A steel mill is not wired like a cul-de-sac ticky-tacky home. But, the tendency for construction management to impose 'efficient', 'modern' and 'economical' methods is rampant. The scabs have the former market. Their owners are the bedrock of Republican party contributors and core. Their workers are reaganesque voters. Now, union contractors think like scab contractors. Union workers, minus the idiots and company men (shoppees), are of the Democracy.

Job one is to get it done, and done quick, and as profitable as possible. This is why since 1981, we have had a constant barrage against organised labor, OHSA, trial lawyers, environmentalists and anyone who is an impediment to business' desires and demands. Reagan, Bush the first, Clinton and business Democrats, bush the lesser, and all Republicans are to be pilloried. Any man, and his family, who works for a living and votes for economic royalists is an ass, and an idiot.
Postscriptum: The two men above, the man in the lift's basket and the groundman, were fired the next day in the last half hour of the shift, Friday the 11th of July. They were "ineligible for rehire" and discharged for "unproductive work". Both men reported to IBEW Local Union 38's hall to describe the firing. It remains to be seen, whether, the union will defend the men and uphold working agreements and contracts, or accommodate Herbst Electric. -- 5.30 p.m. EDST July 11.
The earlier post, referenced supra, is titled "Cohoosion", and was written in the previous month.

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