Welcome to September’s first hump day,
OSHA GOES RETAIL
Since September 1, OSHA has fined a supermarket, a discount dollar store, a pharmacy and a lumberyard for violations found by inspectors.
Just keeping everyone on their toes…
HITS JUST KEEP ON COMING
Also in the first nine days of September:
OSHA proposed $111,600 in fines against US Salt for serious hazards at Watkins Glen, NY, plant;
Cave-in hazards at Ariton, Ala., worksite led to $287,500 in OSHA fines for Wiregrass Construction Co.
OSHA issued fine exceeding $3 million against Whitesell Corp. for safety and health violations at 2 Alabama factories
Cave-in hazard at Newport, RI, jobsite led to nearly $70,000 in proposed OSHA fines;
OSHA cited Alabama automotive parts manufacturer with $60,500 in penalties for 12 safety and health violations
OSHA cited S & S Plumbing for exposing workers to potential trenching hazards at Hot Springs, Ark., worksite
A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE ON 9/11
OSHA boss Dr. David Michaels offered a different take on construction underway at Ground Zero in New York City – the Freedom Plaza – a monument to the lives lost on 9/11.
“When it is completed, this will be the tallest building in the nation, and the workers who helped build this monument will be filled with pride for the rest of their lives whenever they remember what they achieved here,” said Dr. Michaels at a ceremony at the construction site on September 2.
“I also hope that this building will stand as a towering monument to worker safety. “
Michaels continued: “There are special places in America that inspire reverence and awe - Grand Canyon National Park, Gettysburg battlefield, the Jefferson Memorial, and the Statue of Liberty.
“Freedom Plaza is such a place. We are in awe of what happened here nine years ago, and we hold great reverence for the lost lives that consecrated this ground.
“Now, on this site, workers are building a monument to those lives, a symbol of American resilience, and a testament to human engineering.
“Speaking not only as the administrator for OSHA -- the Federal agency in charge of protecting our nation's workforce -- but also as a proud, native New Yorker: This site needs no more tragedy, no more wounded workers, and no more grieving families.
“Only a skilled, qualified and trained workforce can build a project of this magnitude -- and this project can succeed only when everyone's knowledge, expertise, experience and awareness contribute to a safe and healthful workplace.
“I want to recognize and thank a number of people for their commitment to worker safety and health here at Ground Zero:
“In the weeks following 9/11, as construction workers, Federal, State and local government workers and others reported early each morning to the disaster site in lower Manhattan, people from all walks of life lined West Street. They applauded, cheered and shouted their thank-yous to the workers for their daily courage and commitment. They expressed through their cheers and tears that everyone was connected, and that our nation's future -- our security and our ability to prevail through those dark days -- was in the hands of these construction workers and public servants.
“Today the hands of those are ironworkers and their brothers and sisters in the construction trades, their managers, the leadership of IMPACT, and everyone else overseeing this complex project are joined in a solemn promise to themselves, to their fellow workers, and to those who have perished here:
“Each day -- and every day -- labor and management will work together to discuss safety, identify hazards, come up with solutions and track progress.
“Each day -- and every day on the job -- they will enter this site with the goal of ensuring that worker safety and health is the number one priority.
“Each day -- and every day -- everyone on this site will look out for each other and call out when they see anything that poses a hazard.
“The eyes of the Nation will follow your progress and their hearts will be with you.
“Everyone wants you to succeed -- but you can only succeed by working together. This is the meaning behind this construction project's theme: "Rebuilding Through Unity."
ZERO IS THE GOAL
“In this spirit of cooperation and assistance, let us set a goal of ZERO worker deaths and ZERO serious injuries.
“Let us pledge to do everything in our power to see that every last worker on this project returns home to friends and families, safe and healthy, every day.
And, on this day, as we imagine the completion of this exciting, soaring addition to New York's famous skyline, let us embrace the war cry of that great worker advocate, Mother Jones, who instructed us to "Pray for the dead ... and fight like hell for the living!"
ABOUT MOTHER JONES…
Every OSHA chief has a catch phrase that catches on as the common close to any number of speeches. For John Henshaw, a corporate type, it was “safety and health add value…”
Dr. David Michaels has taken to wrapping up his speeches by quoting Mother Jones: "Pray for the dead ... and fight like hell for the living!"
So who is Mother Jones, this mysterious, charismatic stern women always dressed in black?
From the Illinois Labor History Society web site:
Mother Jones, born in Cork, Ireland, on May 1, 1830, came from a long line of agitators. When she was a child, she watched British soldiers march through the streets, the heads of Irishmen stuck on their bayonets. Her father's father, an Irish freedom fighter, was hanged; her father was forced to flee to America with his family in 1835.
Jones grew up in Toronto, Ontario, where she attended the public schools and graduated from normal school at age seventeen. She moved to Memphis, Tennessee, to teach school. And there, in 1861, she met and married George E. Jones, an ironmolder who was "a staunch member" of the Iron Molders' Union.
Mother Jones learned a great deal about unions and about the psychology of workingmen from her husband. And later, when much of her work was with women, she tried to pass on to them what she had learned: "That is, the wife must care for what the husband cares for if he is to remain resolute."
TRAGEDY I - In 1867, when she was 37 years old, within one week her husband and their four small children died in a yellow fever epidemic. After the epidemic had run its course, she returned to Chicago.
TRAGEDY II - But tragedy followed Mother Jones. Four years later, in 1871, she lost everything she owned in the great Chicago fire. That event also changed her life drastically, and she discovered a new path to follow. She became involved in the labor movement and began to attend meetings of the newly formed Knights of Labor "in an old, tumbled down, fire scorched building.
CLASS CLASH; During the time she was most active in the labor movement, the country was changing dramatically, from an agrarian economy to an industrial economy. The nature of work and of workers was altered. Waves of immigrants and displaced farmers dug the nation's coal and forged its steel. All too often, they received in return only starvation wages and nightmarish conditions. Within these men smoldered the sparks of class conflict which Mother Jones would fan for 50 years. To these workers, she would become an anchor to the past and an arrow toward a better future.
When there was a strike, Mother Jones organized and helped the workers; at other times, she held educational meetings. In 1877, she helped in the Pittsburgh railway strike; during the 1880s she organized and ran educational meetings; in 1898 she helped found the Social Democratic Party; and in 1905 she was present at the founding of the Industrial Workers of the World.
After 1890 she became involved in the struggles of coal miners and became an organizer for the United Mine Workers, attending her first UMWA convention on January 25, 1901.
She resigned as a UMWA organizer in 1904 and became a lecturer for the Socialist Party of America for several years, traveling throughout the southwest.
Mother Jones was one of the founders of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). In 1905, she was the only woman among 27 persons who signed the manifesto that called for a convention to organize all industrial workers.
Mother Jones lived to be 100 years old. In her last quarter century she was still leading marches, strikes, protest rallies, getting arrested, constantly grabbing attention for the cause of workers.
When she was denounced on the floor of the U.S. Senate as “the grandmother of all agitators,” she said she hoped to live long enough to be the great-grandmother of all agitators.
Opponents called her “the most dangerous woman in America.”
Mother Jones lived in a time when women were not allowed to vote. “You don’t need a vote to raise hell,” she said about that. “You need convictions and a voice.”