Friday, May 14, 2010

Working Conditions: Notes from All Over

Whistle While You Work
1. Your office building is full of mold, or is cracking at the seams. Your employee lounge has a persistent stream of water through the ceiling. They've installed open drain pans with little pipes, that funnel water down behind the refrigerator and go--somewhere.

2. Every time you turn right in your company car, you do a little shimmy because the tires are bald. A fellow employee even died in the same kind of beater you're driving right now. But you have calls to make, all day long, specialized equipment to cart around. You have to use this car.

3. Your company forecasts an increase in demand for services. But, incredibly, they start downsizing. They get rid of all the experienced workers. They get rid of the motivated people your company spent millions to train. They are going to your competitors or getting the hell out of the industry. How will you meet the workload? You've already got overtime to the max. And the bean-counters don't like that either.

4. You have a huge, growing problem on the job site you're inspecting. You call for other experts. They can't come, but disaster is on its way.  Or they can be there in ten minutes, and your disaster starts Right Now.

Okay. Three Questions.
Employee: How long before you quit, call OSHA, call the newspaper, or give up? Or do you just get sick from some environmental pathogen from your crummy employee lounge, or injured in a traffic accident?

Outsider: If you heard of these dangers for an oil refinery, you would demand they spend the money required for safety. If it was a food factory, you would be sick at heart and sick to your stomach. You would insist they call for an exterminator, a scrub-down, a health check--for the Good of All.

Owner: Your employees' health is continually at risk. You'd be skating darn close to fines, class action suits. The suits would say that a consistent atmosphere of risk and shortage taught those employees not to protect themselves. Because they did accept it, they died, were injured, got sick, went into danger without proper safety equipment, and failed to ask for necessary backup. If you were the owner, you wouldn't win. You'd lose on the grounds of a hostile, harassing workplace. The punitive damages would be huge.

Well, guess what. The links above come from news media and blog media all over the country for police departments. Since we are the taxpayers and voters, we are therefore the responsible parties.

The principles for workplace security and employee relations don't change when you enter a police precinct. They become, if anything, more important.

Google search the name of your state, the word "police", and the words "budget cuts". It may be time to let your city or county officials know that it's time for a change in priorities.

The Notes From All Over came from: unknown Northwest; Illinois, Pennsylvania, California, and Michigan. I could have included all fifty states without breaking a sweat.


Slamdunk said...

Clever post Ann T. I don't think anything will be improving anytime soon for officers in these conditions. Unfortunately, morale will be a prime victim.

Ann T. said...

Dear Slamdunk,
Yes, I agree with you that improvements won't be showing up. And morale is only going to get worse.

Thanks for listening,
Ann T.

The Observer said...

Ann T:
Remember the entry I made about the new police stations in KC?

The Metro station replaces a station whose top half is going one way and bottom half is going another. The movement is cracking the building like a walnut.

The South Station building currently is so small that there is only one women's restroom for all females that might be in the building. I joked with the lady officer at the presentation that it might have been faster to quick step over to KCFD station 42. The drips are so pervasive and so well known that they have marks on the floor where the containers need to go when it rains.

We voted in a special tax to fix these buildings and others for the police and fire. A finite tax with a sunset. One firehouse was sliding sideways down the hill it was on. Tax money well spent by my book.

Thanks for the post!

The Observer

Ann T. said...

Dear The Observer,
It sounds like the South Kansas City people do see that there's a problem, and want to get it fixed. A very sensible arrangement, to have a tax period and a limit.

That is the best news all day, my friend, because it contains a solution.

Thank you!
Ann T.