After the recent mining disasters and the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon lawmakers continued to debate legislation to toughen workplace safety rules and increase penalties on employers that ignore them. Luckily for all the nation’s workers, the new rules will not only apply to coal miners but to all of America’s workers. For only the second time in forty years, employers will face new regulations on workplace safety. The new legislation would also prohibit the firing of workers who report unsafe conditions.
Democrats are pushing for a quick vote on the legislation, which they maintain is greatly needed:
Supporters for the legislation – mostly the Democrats – say the costs of work-related accidents and illnesses outweigh the expenses of stricter regulations and are pushing for a quick vote.
“The fact of the matter is that the current law isn’t working and the pattern of violations that existed (in the 1970s) were exceeded even by the Massey mine here,” said Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., the chairman of the House panel.
And of course Republicans opposed anything that protects workers at the expense of the greediest and least patriotic among us:
“I do appreciate Chairman Miller’s apparent urgency,” said Rep. John Kline, R-Minn. “I would simply urge us to act as quickly as is prudent to make the necessary changes to the law and its enforcement to protect miners.”
Which begs the question of Mr. Kline, then what in the hell is the problem?? Why don’t his beloved Republicans show the same sense of “apparent urgency” in protecting the workers of this country as they show in protecting the profits of the Corporate paymasters who refuse to offer fair wages, benefits and even safe working conditions?? Because as with everything with the modern Republican Party it is all about greed and idiocy. Why should they care who dies??
I mean, why would anyone protect the folks at Massey energy and other employers of like mind??:
Massey coal mines received hundreds of citations in 2009, including orders to evacuate workers over safety concerns. Federal records show Massey received hundreds more citations for underground mines in Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia following the April explosion.
And in fact instead of admitting the problems they themselves have caused, Massey Energy and other mining companies not only have cost people their lives, but insist on costing the taxpayers money and time to keep from being regulated not to put more lives at risk:
In June, Massey sued MSHA for what it called the agency’s “its improper use of regulatory authority to control the design of ventilation systems and to limit the use of scrubbers in underground mines.”
Opposition from mining companies against tougher safety sanctions has created a backlog of roughly 16,000 cases involving 89,000 violations and more than $195 million in fines, according to Joseph Main, MSHA’s director. The sheer volume of these cases has clogged the appeals process and, in some instances, allowed operators to delay paying hefty fines, safety advocates said.
Which is a sad state indeed. The War within our country against it’s own workers continues. Who was there to delay the deaths of these workers from the greed and complacent incompetence of their employers? It is an insult indeed to all Americans when mining companies can clog the appeals process backlogging the process and avoiding paying their own fines all in retaliation for legislation that their own actions and deaths they manufactured caused.
The Tea Party folks are right about one thing. There is plenty to be enraged about right now in this country. I sure wish they would wake up and realize just what there really is to be so mad about and join the rest of us in changing it.
Here are some comments from George Miller today: