sick-cow.jpgIn this blog, you’ve heard me rail against corporations that disregard workers, and the consumers of their products. And you’ve read my posts pointing the finger at government agencies who are supposed to protect worker safety and uphold the rights of workers but drop the ball.

Well, today I want to point the finger at workers.

A lot of people across the country are outraged at the recent meat recall at a major meat packing company in California that supplied ground beef to schools around the country. There are actual videos of workers prodding and poking sick cattle to get up as the animals headed for slaughter.

This is a bad thing because the government strictly prohibits to consumption of sickly cows because they may carry Mad Cow disease.

Despite this fact, workers supposedly were encouraged by managers to brush aside this fact and get the bovines dancing.

From the Wall Street Journal today:

The video showed workers at the company’s plant here forcing sick or injured cows into slaughter by kicking them or ramming them with forklifts.

Thanks to those workers and managers, the meat from those cows ended up heading right for the bellies of little kids. And the workers must have known this. Did they themselves feel okay eating this meat?

I know, the U.S. Department of Agriculture must take some blame here, especially since this particular meat, because it’s heading for school kids, required even more inspections by the goverment agency.

And I know, the company, Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co., must take some blame here as well. The top dogs know what’s going on in their own facilities. I have seen first hand how plant supervisors keep on top of every bathroom break their workers take. I can’t imagine they missed something like this.

But folks, I want to lay a lot of the blame at the feet of workers today. If the workers at the facility refused to engage in this illegal behavior this would not have happened. If workers reported the problem to government inspectors, who had come to the plant often, this wouldn’t have happened.

I know, if an employee stands up they risk their job. I understand that. Employers retaliate in this way against their workers often. But when is enough enough?

I address this issue in my column today on MSNBC.com.

I am in no way diminishing the importance of holding the USDA or Hallmark/Westland accountable.

But it’s about time that we realize we also contribute to the ills of the workplace, ills that unfortunately end up pouring out into our society at large.

We’re all responsible for the bad beef out there, no?

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