Yesterday, the Senate voted to repeal regulations that required federal contractors to accurately disclose all of their workplace safety violations. Because who would want that?
President Trump is expected to finalize the rollback of the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rule—a rule that groups like the ACLU called “crucial because [it helps] ensure that federal contractors behave responsibly and ethically with respect to labor standards and civil rights laws,” and that the US Chamber of Commerce said “will needlessly increase costs” by increasing “the frequency and cost of labor and employment disputes.”
That battle is settled now. You can’t have labor disputes if you do away with the underlying labor regulations!
This sort of rollback is not just symbolic of the new administration’s alignment with business and against workers. It has real impacts. Though it only applies to government contractors, that is a group that employs a fifth of the US work force. The government might as well roll out a flashing sign onto factory floors reading “MONEY FIRST, SAFETY LAST.” The Guardian speaks to a former OSHA official who notes that “one of the industries most likely to experience the impact of the repeal is the poultry industry, an industry with high rate of worker injury and death, large government contracts, and a historical reliance on undocumented workers.”
No longer will Americans be forced to live in a world in which an oppressive government forces business owners to disclose when they were caught ripping off their workers or killing them with unsafe working conditions, just to win a government contract. Huzzah. If you find this sort of blatant regression in standards dispiriting, just imagine how it makes poultry plant workers feel. So here’s an idea, bourgeois carnivores: the next time you’re out shopping for some organic free range chicken breast, inquire if it was produced in a plant where workers are treated well in an environment free of rampant safety violations or wage theft. Write a letter to the grocery store or restaurant chain’s headquarters demanding to know! In this way the free market will regulate itself, etc, at least until the national pitchfork-sharpening has been completed.
Better yet be a vegetarian and while you’re being a vegetarian drastically raise taxes on the wealthy.