McWane, nation’s most dangerous employer, faces new charges

I discussed the finer points of the McWane productivity system in an earlier post. It’s what McWane calls disciplined management, a term reminiscent of slave labor practices during the Second World War.

McWane is a stark example of what can happen when there is an extreme concentration on financial results with no thought for the cost in human lives or environmental damage.

According to the NY Times, McWane Inc., a major pipe maker and one of the nation’s most persistent violators of workplace safety and environmental laws, faced a new round of criminal charges last night after a federal grand jury in the company’s hometown, Birmingham, Ala., issued a 25-count indictment alleging illegal dumping and other environmental crime

After shrugging off incoming legal salvos for many years, there are indications that the shields of the McWane Dreadnought are losing power. Imperial forces Government inspectors are finally beginning to make headway against the rogue company.

We are nearing the point where we can’t sustain multiple indictments and be a successful company,” McWane’s president, G. Ruffner Page Jr., told reporters in Birmingham last week after it was disclosed that federal investigators were taking soil samples at a coal mine owned by McWane.

Too bad. It’s about time.

I’d like to give you a quick grasp of the essential values held by this company and its founders. This company, owned by one of Alabama’s richest families, had recorded more than 4,600 injuries among its 5,000 workers while also polluting the air and water in several states where it has foundries.

This is not typical of the pipe industry. This is a McWane phenomenon. Read the article. Look at these multimedia links. Decide for yourselves.

Update: You should also read this Pulitzer Prize winning article: Deaths on the Job, Slaps on the Wrist
By DAVID BARSTOW and LOWELL BERGMAN

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