Question

Birmingham’s McWane Inc., with 10 major foundries, is one of the world’s largest makers of cast-iron water and sewer pipes. In one of the nation’s most dangerous industries, McWane is perhaps the most unsafe, with four times the injury rate of its six competitors combined. Its worker death rate is six times that of its industry’s.
McWane plants were also found in violation of pollution and emission limits 450 times in a recent 7-year period. Workers who protest dangerous work conditions claim they are “bull’s-eyed”------marked for termination. Supervisors have bullied injured workers and intimidated union lenders. Line workers who fail to make daily quotas get disciplinary actions. Managers have put up safety signs after .a worker was injured to make it appear the worker ignored posted policies. They alter safety records and doctor machines to cover up hazards. When the government investigated one worker’s death in 2000, inspectors found the McWane policy “was not to correct anything until OSHA found it.”
Mc Wane plants have also been repeatedly fined for failing to stop production to repair broken pollution controls. Five plants have been designated “high priority” violators by the EPA. Inside the plants, workers have repeatedly complained of blurred vision, severe headaches, and respiratory problems after being exposed, without training or protection, to chemicals used to make pipes. Near one plant in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, school crossing guards have had to wear gas masks—that location alone received 150 violations between 1995 and 2002. McWane’s “standard procedure” (according to a former plant manager) is to illegally dump industrial contaminants into local rivers and creeks. Workers wait for night or heavy rainstorms before flushing thousands of gallons from their sump pumps.
Given the following fictional scenarios: What is your position and what action should you take?
a. On your spouse’s recent move to Birmingham, you accepted a job, perhaps somewhat naively, as a company nurse in one of the McWane plants. After 2 weeks on the job you became aware of the work environment noted above.
b. You are a contractor who has traditionally used McWane’s products, which meet specifications. McWane is consistently the low bidder. Your customers are happy with the product.
c. You are McWane’s banker.
d. You are a supplier to McWane.



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  • CreatedJuly 23, 2013
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