Saturday, November 3, 2012

Union-busting killing workers; Jesus dies in ND oil field

A UW history professor told listeners of Wyoming Public Radio that billionaire greed is killing his state's workers in part by marginalizing Democrats. In Montana, a GOP PAC illegally used a union letterhead to assail pro-worker candidates.

Dustin Bleizeffer of WyoFile brings this report in the Billings Gazette:
Wyoming’s workplace fatality rate improved from the worst in the nation — 17 fatalities per 100,000 workers in 2007 — to fourth worst in 2009, according to an AFL-CIO report, passing the “worst” distinction to Montana, Louisiana and North Dakota, where many drilling rigs migrated during the same period. But before Wyoming leaders and employers claim victory over such a poor past performance, safety officials are warning that workplace fatalities could spike again when drilling and construction activity returns to Wyoming. Last week, an iWatch investigative report, “'Model Workplaces’ Not Always Safe,” found that many companies across the nation that are enrolled in state-level Voluntary Protection Programs enjoy the benefit of fewer inspections but still were guilty of serious safety violations — many resulting in the death of workers..
A coal mine in Campbell County, Wyoming is a defendant in a case led by an underwriter of Wyoming Public Radio:
The Spence Law Firm, working in association with the Michaels and Michaels law firm in Gillette, Wyoming, has filed a complaint against Wyoming corporation Western Fuels-Wyoming, Inc., (owner and operator of the Dry Fork Mine) and two of its employees. Negligence claims and other counts are also being brought against the mine employer, which fired Shawn Cunningham the day after he filed for Wyoming workers compensation benefits, in violation of public policy.
From WyoFile:
Unlike Wyoming’s coal mining industry, oil and gas companies work without borders and they do it without a clear set of safety ground-rules or certifications that are transferable from one drilling location to the next. “You can build all the policies you want, but if you don’t hold employees accountable for their actions,” the policies have little effect, said Denny Gladwin of Halliburton Services. “The legislature is very much a part of the Tea Party movement, and that’s good,” said Dallas Scholes of Williams Production RMT, who serves on WOGISA’s legislative committee.
Montana's rate for worker fatalities (10.8/100,000 workers) is more than three times the national average of 3.3/100,000, said a press release printed in the Montana Standard.

Lauren Donovan in the Bismarck Tribune:
Jesus Castillo, 60, of Santa Fe, N.M., died Monday at an oil well site near Mandaree from burns sustained while repairing a leak at the well.

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