Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

April 25, 2007

Signs of the times

Filed under: workers — louisproyect @ 4:12 pm

April 23, 2007
Employment Law Attorney Is the New ‘Apprentice’

If Donald Trump has any workers’ comp woes, his new “apprentice” should be able to help him out.

In the finale of the sixth season of the NBC reality show The Apprentice, held on April 22 at the Hollywood Bowl, Trump selected 32-year old Stefani Schaeffer as his new apprentice. She is the first attorney to be selected and only the second woman.

Schaeffer attended Southwestern School of Law’s accelerated SCALE program and graduated in the top 10 percent of her law school class. Her specialty is defending employers, primarily real estate developers against workers’ compensation subrogration, discrimination, and product defect claims.

For her $250,000 salary for her year as the Apprentice, Schaeffer had the choice of overseeing a skyscraper in Atlanta or a new condo/resort complex in the Dominican Republic. She chose the Caribbean assignment.


NY Times, April 25, 2007
OSHA Leaves Worker Safety in Hands of Industry

WASHINGTON, April 24 — Seven years ago, a Missouri doctor discovered a troubling pattern at a microwave popcorn plant in the town of Jasper. After an additive was modified to produce a more buttery taste, nine workers came down with a rare, life-threatening disease that was ravaging their lungs.

Puzzled Missouri health authorities turned to two federal agencies in Washington. Scientists at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, which investigates the causes of workplace health problems, moved quickly to examine patients, inspect factories and run tests. Within months, they concluded that the workers became ill after exposure to diacetyl, a food-flavoring agent.

But the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, charged with overseeing workplace safety, reacted with far less urgency. It did not step up plant inspections or mandate safety standards for businesses, even as more workers became ill.

On Tuesday, the top official at the agency told lawmakers at a Congressional hearing that it would prepare a safety bulletin and plan to inspect a few dozen of the thousands of food plants that use the additive.

That response reflects OSHA’s practices under the Bush administration, which vowed to limit new rules and roll back what it considered cumbersome regulations that imposed unnecessary costs on businesses and consumers. Across Washington, political appointees — often former officials of the industries they now oversee — have eased regulations or weakened enforcement of rules on issues like driving hours for truckers, logging in forests and corporate mergers.

Since George W. Bush became president, OSHA has issued the fewest significant standards in its history, public health experts say. It has imposed only one major safety rule. The only significant health standard it issued was ordered by a federal court.

The agency has killed dozens of existing and proposed regulations and delayed adopting others. For example, OSHA has repeatedly identified silica dust, which can cause lung cancer, and construction site noise as health hazards that warrant new safeguards for nearly three million workers, but it has yet to require them.

“The people at OSHA have no interest in running a regulatory agency,” said Dr. David Michaels, an occupational health expert at George Washington University who has written extensively about workplace safety. “If they ever knew how to issue regulations, they’ve forgotten. The concern about protecting workers has gone out the window.”

full: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/25/washington/25osha.html


1 Comment »

  1. Color me shocked.

    The anti-government ideology of conservatism, will be its own undoing. To even implement a conservative program, you need government.

    Comment by Renegade Eye — April 26, 2007 @ 2:58 am

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