U.S. Postal Service: Is the Budget More Important Than Employees Exposed to TB?

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

 

U.S. Postal Service: Is the Budget More Important Than Employees Exposed to TB?
.
 
According to a very reliable source, on Tuesday, August 2, 2011, when the employees showed up for work at the United States Postal Service’s Los Angeles International Service Center (LAXISC), they were greeted by a note on the time clock instructing them to gather in the main conference room at 3:30 p.m. After all of the employees assembled, along with some military personnel and personnel from the Center for Disease Control, they were informed by the plant manager, a Mr. Holden, that they had been exposed to tuberculosis. They were told that an employee had contracted the disease about a year earlier and they had just been informed by the CDC.
.
According to the source, Mr. Holden then went on to inform the employees that only "high risk" personnel would be tested. When he was asked why wasn’t everyone being tested, the manager indicated that the budget precluded them from testing everyone, but if they had any concerns they should contact their private physicians and arrange to be tested. Thereafter, they tested all of the managers and just a few of the employees that they considered high risk.
.
The source also indicated that the APWU’s presence was all but nonexistent at the meeting. The source said:
.
"The local president, John Driver, and none of the local officers bothered to come to the meeting. Instead, the treasurer, Darryl Brown, came and did not even ask any questions or voice any concerns about the situation. Is this what our president and local think of us whereas we are not even important enough for them to be present to see about our safety and welfare regarding an employee being diagnosed with TB that we all may have come in contact with and may even have exposed our families to?"
.
Subsequently, it was found that the employee that caused the exposure died on July 8, 2011. Of twenty-six employees tested as of last week, thirteen tested positive. So here are a few questions just begging to be asked:
.
1. If thirteen of the twenty-six employees that’s been tested so far tested positive (half), isn’t that cause for concern? Wouldn’t it be prudent to put budgetary concerns aside, if for no other reason than to protect the health of the employees, and their family, friends, and neighbors?

2. Since all of the employees at that facility were potentially exposed to TB on the job, why do they have to incur the expense of going to their own physician? Isn’t that considered a job related hazard, and isn’t it the postal service’s responsibility to protect the job-related threat to the health and safety of it’s employees and their families? 3. Since all of the employees worked in one facility and the postal service has no idea how the employees came into contact with one another in commons areas, lunchrooms, restrooms, etc. How did they determine who was "high risk?"

4. How does the postal service justify testing all of management and not the employees who are in much closer contact with one another?

5. Where’s OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) in all of this? Don’t they have a role in seeing to it that the postal service doesn’t give their budget priority over the safety, health, and welfare of their employees?

6. And where are the unions? Why aren’t they in there demanding that the postal service test every employee in that facility to ensure that they are free of a virulent disease that can kill not only them, but their children?
.
This situation is a prime example of the fact that apathy on the part of the American people has allowed both the business community, and our government, to write the poor and middle-class off as expendable and secondary to profits. We see it everywhere, including on the battlefield, with the endless wars that use poor and middle-class troops as cannon fodder to promote the interests of war profiteers and oil companies. As we speak the oil companies are rushing into Lybia to divide up the spoils that poor and middle-class troops have died for while thinking they were defending the interests of our country.
.
And the irony is, the children of the people who benefit most from the death of the poor and middle class troops, the rich, are no longer even expected to defend this country. Dying for this country is now considered the job of the “little people.” The job of the rich is to merely sit back and reap the benefits of our sacrifices.
.
We saw the very same scenario in play when the 29 coal miners were killed in West Virginia on April 5, 2010. Hubpages.com reported:
.
"29 COAL MINERS DIE in COAL MINING EXPLOSION
The Massey Energy Company of Montcoal, West Virginia ignored violations and warnings that the Upper Big Branch Coal Mine which they own, was not safe for coal miners to be working in."
.
Then just weeks later, on April 20, 2010, eleven oil workers were killed in a horrific explosion on an oil rig run by British Petroleum. In the aftermath of the disaster The Daily Beast reported:
.
"A document obtained by The Daily Beast shows that BP, in a previous fatal disaster, increased worker risk to save money."
.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has known about the threat to public health of the job-related transmission of TB for some time:
.
"The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is proposing a health standard, to be promulgated under section 6(b) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, 29 U.S.C. 655, to control occupational exposure to tuberculosis (TB). TB is a communicable, potentially lethal disease that afflicts the most vulnerable members of our society: the poor, the sick, the aged, and the homeless. As many as 13 million U.S. adults are presently believed to be infected with TB; over time, more than 1 million of these individuals may develop active TB disease and transmit the infection to others. TB remains a major health problem with 22,813 active cases reported in the U.S. in 1995. A number of outbreaks of this disease have occurred among workers in health care settings, as well as other work settings, in recent years. To add to the seriousness of the problem, some of these outbreaks have involved the transmission of multidrug-resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which are often fatal. Although it is the responsibility of the U.S. Public Health Service to address the problem of tuberculosis in the general U.S. population, OSHA is solely responsible for protecting the health of workers exposed to TB as a result of their job.
.
"OSHA estimates that more than 5 million U.S. workers are exposed to TB in the course of their work: in hospitals, homeless shelters, nursing homes, and other work settings. Because active TB is endemic in many U.S. populations, including groups in both urban and rural areas, workers who come into contact with diseased individuals are at risk of contracting the disease themselves. The risk confronting these workers as a result of their contact with TB-infected individuals may be as high as 10 times the risk to the general population. Although the number of reported cases of active TB has slowly begun to decline after a resurgence between 1985-1992, 16 states reported an increase in the number of TB cases in 1995, compared with 1994. Based on a review of the data, OSHA has preliminarily concluded that workers in hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and certain other work settings are at significant risk of incurring TB infection while caring for their patients and clients or performing certain procedures. To reduce this occupational risk, OSHA is proposing a standard that would require employers to protect TB-exposed employees by means of infection prevention and control measures that have been demonstrated to be highly effective in reducing or eliminating job related TB infections. These measures include the use of respirators when performing certain high hazard procedures on infectious individuals, procedures for the early identification and treatment of TB infection, isolation of individuals with infectious TB in rooms designed to protect those in the vicinity of the room from contact with the microorganisms causing TB, and medical follow-up for occupationally exposed workers who become infected. OSHA has preliminarily determined that the engineering, work practice, and administrative controls, respiratory protection, training, medical surveillance, and other provisions of the proposed standard are technologically and economically feasible for facilities in all affected industries.
.
"DATES: Written comments on the proposed standard must be postmarked on or before December 16, 1997 and notices of intention to appear at the informal rulemaking hearings must be postmarked on or before December 16, 1997."
.
Now, in spite the stern warning of a sister agency regarding the importance of controlling the spread of this virulent disease in the workplace, we see the United States Postal Service all but ignoring the possibility that their employees could take a deadly, and possibly incurable, disease home to their families, neighbors, and friends just to save a dollar. And just as telling, the employee unions are simply standing by mute, watching this unconscionable, atrocious, and flagrant act of irresponsibility like it's business as usual. What more do we have to see to understand that it's time for American workers to stand up and retake control of their lives?
.
It’s time for American workers to wake up and begin to realize that their apathy is allowing them to be written off as expendable. It's time for them to change that by using the political clout of their numbers to make themselves heard. It’s past time for them to realize that they're knee-deep in a class war that they’re losing badly.
.
The idea that we can simply vote people into office and depend on them to protect our interests is a myth, and the institutions that are supposedly setup to protect our interests are actually designed to protect the status quo by giving us the illusion of justice - anyone who’s ever tried to sue a corporation for its misdeeds can attest to that. All of these institutions are myths designed to allow the few to control the many.
.
History is clear. There is no example in the history of mankind where justice has simply been bestowed upon a people. The only way to obtain justice is to be strong enough to take it, and then steadfast enough in your vigilance to hold on to it. So the bottom line is, you cannot depend on politicians, union representatives, or anyone else to defend your rights without seeing to it that they have something to lose by failing to do so. Thus, the only defender of justice that we can truly depend upon is just us.
.
The U.S. Postal Service is a United States government agency, so if this nation truly believed in justice, the U. S. postal service would be in the very forefront of the fight to protect employee rights. But instead, the United States Postal Service, one the few, if not the only, government agency actually mentioned in the United States Constitution, is more hostile to workers’ rights than any agency in any dictatorship anywhere in the world.
.
We’ve got to bring this fact to President Obama’s attention, because as chief executive officer, he’s the head of that agency. How can we commit the lives of American troops to fight for the rights of people in other lands, while their parents are working on a plantation here at home?
.
So it’s time for not only postal workers to wake up, but for poor and middle-class workers all across this country to come together and flex their political clout. If we are to survive as a nation, poor and middle-class workers must begin to understand that they will never again be secure in their jobs or their way of life until they come together to ensure that their politicians, union officials, and employers are insecure in theirs.
.
Eric L. Wattree

http://wattree.blogspot.com/
Ewattree@Gmail.com
Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA)



Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

Views: 91

Comment

You need to be a member of Leimert Park Beat to add comments!

Join Leimert Park Beat

Leimert Park Beat is the news and social network for Leimert Park and the surrounding neighborhoods. Stay informed. Join now!

 

• Got news you think everyone should know? Blog it.

• Have a show or attending a benefit? Put it on the calendar.
• Video of the big game? Embed it.
• Photos of your business or the school play? Upload them.

WHAT STORIES WOULD YOU SUGGEST? Let me know.

With your help, LeimertParkBeat.com raised money to hire reporters, graphic artists and community members to cover our area.
Read the stories - Urban Economy 411, Redevelopment Hell and One of these don't belong.

Latest Activity

DojO- posted a blog post
21 hours ago
DojO- commented on DojO-'s event Wuz Go'n On? @ The 'new' World STAGE - TIERNEY SUTTON 7/30 Concert Series +: Workshops 'n' Jamz Я Back *updatez*
"Re: Once & future MetalJazz - Virtual live review: Charles Owens, Jamael Dean. The value of perspective. Charles Owens Quintet Jamael Dean Links: Online & in-person performances (7/30 update). Vibe Summit; ...more. The World…"
yesterday
DojO- commented on DojO-'s blog post TIERNEY SUTTON "Live-Stream - Recordin' - TGIF Concert Series" July 30th 8PM PT From: The 'new' World STAGE [Next-up: Louis VAN TAYLOR - 8/6] *updatez*
"Re: Once & future MetalJazz - Links: Online & in-person performances (7/30 update). Vibe Summit; ...more. The World Stage continues to present 8pm PT live streams of the best (J)azz in L.A.; join in here for live…"
yesterday
DojO- updated an event
Thumbnail

Wuz Go'n On? @ The 'new' World STAGE - TIERNEY SUTTON 7/30 Concert Series +: Workshops 'n' Jamz Я Back *updatez* at Live-Stream - Recordin' From: The 'new' World STAGE

July 24, 2021 at 11am to August 1, 2021 at 11pm
Wkly Fri. nite Concert Series +:Live-Stream (free/donation) 8PM PT (cp time)Recorded live-streams available to viewed too.+ Occasionally Special events on different day/nite 'n timez (ck *updatez*).AUG.:   6th - Louis Van Taylor of Kool & the…See More
Thursday
DojO- updated an event
Thumbnail

The Jazz Sessions w/ Dr. Jaz Sawyer on KPFK 90.7 FM Mondays 12AM-3AM PT (*except 4th Mon.) "Listen Here" Program w/ Ollie Bivins - 7/29 *updatez* at KPFK - FM radio/internet WWW/website archive

July 28, 2021 at 12am to August 16, 2021 at 3am
   A program that captures the spirit of the jam session & celebrates & explores timeless (J)azz recordings of then & now. On-the-FM-radio & World Wide Web..…See More
Wednesday
DojO- commented on DojO-'s blog post CNN TV: Schedule / Wkdaze - July 2021 Mon. 26th thru Fri. 30th PT; NEWs + *updatez*
"Tokyo 2020 unveils Olympic medals made from old electronics; The best photos from the Tokyo Olympics; LIVE UPDATES"
Tuesday
DojO- commented on DojO-'s event Wuz Go'n On? @ The 'new' World STAGE - TIERNEY SUTTON 7/30 Concert Series +: Workshops 'n' Jamz Я Back *updatez*
""New Live Radio Sho-"  Listen Here on KPFK 90.7 FM w/ (previous RISE monthly Co-Host, Ollie Bivins (currently, live, every 4th Mon. of-the-month)/Jazz Sessions (all other Mons.) Online Archives:  Monday, July 26,…"
Monday
DojO- posted blog posts
Jul 26

© 2021   Created by enhager.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service