….and I sit with tears reading the stories while wondering why and how cruelty can exist in the world…did you know that the Associated Press reported on a story nearly nine (9) months ago about human trafficking with fishermen in Thailand and Indonesia….and our ‘great’ American food companies were (are) purchasing the fish that were/are caught by these human ‘slaves’? The New York Times just reported another story about young men being ‘picked’ off from small villages in the Phillipines to work on fishing vessels in the waters of east Asia…some of them never return, some of them have to return ‘all’ the monies they earned in the two/three years they are on the fishing boat (never having seen the money in the first place)…some of them are locked in rooms with 14/15 other men in order that they NOT return to their homes until the ‘contract’ organizations that ‘hire’ them receive their ‘just’ rewards….Sad and sickening….
More than 2,000 fishermen alone have been rescued this year after the publication of the AP story regarding seafood brought to the US from a slave island in eastern Indonesia….can you imagine? An Island? And companies such as WalMart, Sysco and Kroger were buying the fish and selling it to you and me….you could have been at your most expensive, favorite restaurant in New York or Las Vegas and eaten some calamari that was caught by slaves….I understand that these entities mentioned have decided to ‘investigate’ these allegations….
The Asian legions of ‘manicurists’ who pay shop owners an ‘obligatory’ $100 for the ‘privilege’ of learning how to give a manicure….working with no wage until a shop owner determines that a ‘trainee’ is skilled enough to earn a wage. Where the hell is this coming from? Again, these young women….and, yes sometimes, men….are ‘slaves’ while learning this trade. They are picked up daily by pre-paid vans and returned to sleep in enclaves that they share with 5 – 10 other ‘trainees’. They work 10-12 hour shifts. Manicurists are considered to be ‘tipped’ workers, therefore, they can ‘earn’ less than the typical minimum wage anywhere in the country….
….and then there are the employees of Amazon warehouses….those facilities that are the size of airplane hangars that house all the products that Amazon (and other warehousing companies) wants to send to us overnight…there are ongoing arguments between the New York Times and the upper management of Amazon.com….even if the NY Times article is put aside, I recently heard an NPR Podcast that talked about how employees in the Allentown, PA warehouse were fainting due to the heat….there was no air conditioning in the warehouse and even after repeated requests from employees, temporary workers, contract companies, etc., Amazon refused to install air conditioning….they hired private Paramedic firms to sit outside of the warehouse to take fainted employees to the hospital, if necessary. During this time, Amazon was investigating the use of ‘robots’ to replace a good number of the ‘humans’ in their warehouse facilities....Prior to purchasing the robots, Amazon installed air conditioning systems in their warehouse facilities because….you guessed it......the robots needed to ‘work’ in air conditioning…
Is another human life so easy to disregard for some people? I know that the people that I’ve had firsthand experience with….two (2) errant ministers, a sex shop veteran, an out of practice nurse who couldn’t nurse her way out of a paper bag and an unemployed financial advisor all did what they did due to their lack of morals and warped value systems….but they did what they did because they could….and, in some instances, they still can…and, again, what I’ve had the misfortune to experience is nothing compared to some of the workplace atrocities that exist in the world.
Look at institutions such as FIFA and the appalling conditions of the construction workers in Quatar, as demonstrated by the International Trade Union Configuration….all in the name of soccer and making lots of money….or the owners of the garment factories in Bangladesh….who live as a ‘prince’ or ‘princess’ in their respective societies while employing individuals to work in sub-human conditions.
Is there a collective conscience in any of this? I don’t think so….I am pained each time I read of these situations and I wonder as humans how we are to accept them? My personal/professional experiences stem from selfish and greedy individuals who stole money from society and also have enough money to insure that they were treated ‘differently’ than others but don’t get me wrong….a thief is a thief….no matter what ‘spin’ is put on the situation, however, even to give the scum bags (I recently learned the ‘etymology’ of the term scum bag….a condom with used semen in it….which very appropriately describes my former employers) credit, they never (to my knowledge) physically harmed another individual short of the type of harm verbal harassment may provoke.
As my followers will note, I am all for a positive work environment but what I’ve notated in this writing is about as ‘negative’ as can be when it comes to work environments. Please remand your ‘values’ as business owners and employees and insure that rules are followed, individuals are treated with respect and gratitude and people at each level of employment can enjoy the fruits of their labor….with honesty, integrity and respect from both sides of the equation.
Please contact Rosanne Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 484-798-1236 if you have any questions about involvement with organizations that support ethical treatment of individuals in the workplace as well as organizations that support the ethical treatment of animals.