The explosion at the West Fertilizer company in Texas was no accident. It was the inevitable result of anti-regulation policies here in the Lone Star State. Politicians say that businesses have had their hands tied by regulations and need “freedom” from government interference. Usually such objections refer to regulations like rules for worker safety. Consequently, Texas leads the nation in the number construction worker deaths.
Anti-union sentiment in the state also plays into such tragedies. Without the protection of a union, workers learn not to complain about working conditions for fear of losing their jobs. The fertilizer plant that exploded this week had been fined by the EPA in 2006 for not even having a risk management plan. It had not been inspected in five years. The plant was a tragedy waiting to happen. No doubt the owners had insurance and so will recover their losses, but the families of workers will have no such delivery from their grief.
We must stop calling those who die from unsafe working conditions “victims of an accident.” We must say out loud that were murdered in cold blood by the heartless calculations of rich business owners and the lapdog politicians who serve them. We cannot bring back the dead, but we can cry out on behalf of those who will labor this day in harm’s way.