Farmworker Bill Triggers Local Criticism of Yamada

Maria-IsabelThe most appalling factor in the death of young Maria Isabel Vasquez-Jimenez in May of 2008 was not the fact that she was 17, not the fact that she had worked nine hours in temperatures that reached 100 degrees inside the vineyard, and it was not the fact that her body temperature had reached 108.4 degrees when she was finally taken to the hospital where she died.

No, it was the indifference her supervisor had to her medical condition.  Back in 2008, the Vanguard interviewed Merlyn Calderon of the United Farm Workers for the Vanguard Radio Show and she told us that at the point when her boyfriend noticed that she was in trouble around 3 pm and she collapsed, the supervisor, apparently more concerned with concealing the fact that they had employed a 17-year-old on the farm for 9 hours than her own safety, did not take her to the emergency room.

Rather, the supervisor said not to worry and took her to a drug store in the back of an unairconditioned truck and tried to revive her with rubbing alcohol.

When that did not work, she was placed in the van which was sitting in the sun with no air conditioning. They had to wait until all the workers came back before departing.

Merlyn Calderon told the Vanguard: “While in route the foreman called saying, ‘If you take her to a clinic don’t say she was working [for the contractor]. Say she became sick because she was jogging to get exercise. Since she’s underage, it will create big problems for us.’ She was so sick an ambulance took her to the hospital.”

This indifference to care is what killed this young lady, but compounding the problem is that there was no water provided on the site until 10:30 am when the temperature was already in the 90s. To make matters worse the water was a 10-minute walk away and the workers only received a 10-minute break. Meaning that there was no realistic access to water.

It is within this context that we need to understand the rationale for AB 2346.

Instead, over the last few weeks, local Assemblymember Mariko Yamada has been attacked by farmers such as Paul Underhill who accuse her of rank hypocrisy.  Mr. Underhill wrote a piece that appeared in both the Woodland Daily Democrat and the Davis Enterprise that attacked the Assemblymember’s farm policies, particularly on two issues.

“Yamada claims to be proudly representing the agricultural interests of her district, especially in her role as chair of the recently created Assembly Subcommittee on Organic and Sustainable Agriculture,” Mr. Underhill writes. “Instead, Yamada, D-Davis, repeatedly has voted along party lines in favor of legislation that hurts the farmers in her district.”

Her crime, according to Mr. Underwood – she supported a bill that imposed an eight-hour day with overtime rules for farms, despite what he calls “objections from farmers that rules designed for offices and factories do not fit the seasonal work schedule of agriculture.”

And he says, “She voted in support of a bill that implements heat safety rules that are unworkable for many farmers and would make farm employers the target of unscrupulous lawyers.”

In her response, Assemblymember Yamada pointed out, “In 2005, the state had no regulations governing outdoor work in high heat conditions.  Following that slew of deaths, then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued emergency regulations.  These became permanent in 2006.”

She noted, “My commitment to agriculture is being questioned and my votes characterized as ‘partisan.’ “

While she noted her lone Democratic “no” vote on the elimination of the William Act which protects farmland, the thrust of her piece was defense of two votes that seem to be a flashpoint for criticism.

She writes, “In 2010, I voted for SB 1121 (Florez) a bill that would have granted overtime pay to farmworkers after an eight-hour day (currently, California farmworkers are eligible for overtime pay after a ten-hour work day through a wage order).  Since 1938, domestic workers and farmworkers have been exempt from overtime pay under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  Coincidentally, these workers have been historically African-American and Latino.”

She adds, “Farmworker overtime pay opponents argue that farm work is unique and different from other work because it is seasonal and dependent on weather conditions.  Razor-thin profit margins would require farmers to cut hours and layoff farmworkers if they faced an increase in labor costs.  With the most liberal agricultural wage order in the country, any change would put California farmers at a global disadvantage.”

“I recognize the concerns of farm owners,” the Assemblymember writes.  “Agriculture is one of our most important businesses, and one that cannot leave the state.  But I believed in 2010 as I do now that farmworkers perform some of the most difficult work in our society, and that California should be leading the way for improving wages and benefits for those without whom food and drink would disappear from our grocery stores, restaurants, bars, and kitchen tables.”

In addition she supported AB 2346, authored by Assemblymember Butler and dubbed, “The Farmworker Safety Act of 2012.”

Critics argue that the shade and water regulations are onerous, but the Assemblymember points out: “The bill codifies existing CalOSHA heat illness regulations, specifies access to water and shade, and allows an additional private-right-of-action against violators with increased civil penalties. “

She adds, “The latter provision responds to the ‘slap-on-the-wrist’ given the farm labor contractors who employed Maria Isavel Vasquez Jimenez, the 17-year-old pregnant farmworker who in 2008 died from heat illness while working in San Joaquin County.   Her internal body temperature upon death was 108 degrees.  As a result of a 2011 plea bargain, a judge sentenced the contractors to community service and probation.  I believe farmworkers deserve better.”

But John Munn, who is running against Mariko Yamada, responds in his own op-ed, that the Assemblymember’s “remarks ignore most of the concerns raised by farmers in opposing this legislation.”

Mr. Munn, a former Davis School Board Member and President of the Yolo County Taxpayers Association, argues that the Assemblymember “has avoided discussing the very real problems that this legislation will create and the effect that it will have on driving more jobs out of California.”

He accuses Mariko Yamada of “pulling on our heart strings” by “implying that people who work outside are dying because current work rules are not adequate and that farmers don’t care.”

He argues, “But there is no mention of whether current regulations were being followed in the examples she cites or whether proposed changes in AB 2346 would lead to different outcomes.”

“This, however, is mainly a distraction from what is actually in AB 2346,” he writes. “So let’s just agree that no one should be forced to work under intolerable heat stress conditions and go on to discuss why AB 2346 creates more problems than it solves.”

The “most egregious part of AB 2346,” he argues, is “shade and water requirements for farmworkers are not new. Farmers, together with the California and county Farm Bureaus, have been making good-faith efforts at compliance with current regulations. AB 2346 ignores this good-faith effort by allowing an employee to sue farmers, even if they (the employee) created the out-of-compliance situation (such as walking more than 200 feet from a shade structure).”

He argues, “This “bounty hunter” provision undoubtedly will lead (as it has in other cases where lawsuits are used to enforce regulations) to a cottage industry of attorneys suing farmers and either collecting very large amounts from larger landowners or, more frequently, reaching a settlement for less than the cost and risk of going to court.”

“So, if farmers are making progress under current regulations to provide shade and water, while workers and supervisors are being trained on how to recognize and prevent heat-related illnesses, what is the purpose of imposing unworkable operational requirements in combination with bounty hunter enforcement under AB 2346? I suggest that the answer to this question may be found in who the new beneficiaries are,” he continues.

“There is also the question of what legislation like AB 2346 is doing to the California economy,” Mr. Munn writes. “Where possible, the response by many farmers will be to switch to crops that do not require large numbers of field workers or to greater use of mechanized pruning and harvesting methods that will eliminate thousands of farmworker jobs.”

But the core question remains unanswered – how does one prevent the tragedy of the young farm worker when the penalties for the farmers, even if they are violating current law, seem so lenient?

Last week, there was an extensive discussion of AB 2346 on the Vanguard, and there appear to be some areas of the legislation that could be tightened and amended.  It seems that that might be the best approach to deal with both the concerns of the proponents of the measure, while quelling the concerns of critics.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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58 Comments

  1. medwoman

    [quote]This indifference to care is what killed this young lady,[/quote]

    Respectfully, while the delay portrayed in getting appropriate medical care for this young woman is appalling,
    and in my opinion, criminal if accurately portrayed, it may not have made much difference to the outcome. Once she was at the point of collapse, there is a reasonable possibility that she had already sustained irreversible organ damage.

    I believe that where the indifference occurs is at the level of the individual responsible for providing adequate shade and water. For those who are already doing this, this bill is not directed at you. However, if adequate progress has not been made, either by the farmers monitoring themselves and/or each other, then one can hardly blame government officials from attempting to intervene. After all, as pointed out by Jeff Boone in another context, a major role of the government is to protect its citizens. If they have got it wrong with the legislation, rather than crying “partisan” and “party line” would it not be more effective to step up with your own proposals to make improvements rather than just saying there is inadequate enforcement of the current regulations.

    [quote]So let’s just agree that no one should be forced to work under intolerable heat stress conditions [/quote]

    If that were an adequate solution, then there would not be any more hospitalizations from heat related illnesses. I don’t believe that we are there yet. I would much rather that the farmers themselves solve this problem than that the legislature step in. Yet the problem has persisted for the 30 years that I have been in medicine. How long should we wait for a simple agreement to be put into effect before the government becomes involved to “protect its citizens” and legal immigrants ?

  2. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]No, it was the indifference her supervisor had to her medical condition. Back in 2008, the Vanguard interview Merlyn Calderon of the United Farm Workers for the Vanguard Radio Show and she told us that the point at which her boyfriend noticed that she was in trouble around 3 pm and she collapsed, the supervisor, apparently more concerned with concealing the fact that they had employed a 17 year old on the farm for 9 hours than her own safety did not take her to the emergency room.

    Rather the supervisor said not to worry and took her to a drug store in the back of an unairconditioned truck and tried to revive her with rubbing alcohol.[/quote]

    If it happened as described above, then why wasn’t the supervisor charged with a crime?

  3. David M. Greenwald

    “If it happened as described above, then why wasn’t the supervisor charged with a crime?”

    He was along with two others.

    “Three people are charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of pregnant 17-year-old field worker María Isabel Vásquez Jiménez, who died of heat stroke two days after collapsing in a vineyard.”

    They copped a plea and got community service and probation.

  4. wdf1

    Link to Munn’s article, Davis Enterprise, 7/24/12: Farm bill is simply unworkable ([url]http://www.davisenterprise.com/forum/opinion-columns/farm-bill-is-simply-unworkable/[/url])

  5. Frankly

    [i]”So let’s just agree that no one should be forced to work under intolerable heat stress conditions and go on to discuss why AB 2346 creates more problems than it solves.”[/i]

    Exactly.

    Vote for John Munn.

  6. SouthofDavis

    Elaine wrote:

    > If it happened as described above, then why wasn’t the
    > supervisor charged with a crime?

    Then David wrote:

    > He was along with two others.
    > They copped a plea and got community service and probation.

    It is sad to say that the real reason behind so many laws is not the stated reason of protecting people (or putting killers in jail), but finding a new way for the state to raise money in fines, finding a new way for attorneys to make money in lawsuits and finding a new way for a supplier (who donates money to politicians) to sell products by requiring people to buy them (e.g. moving shade structures, bike helmets, hands free devices and California’s special gas and gas cans).

    Both the farmers and farm workers don’t want to see anyone die in the fields, but it seems to me that so many of these laws are written more to make some people money than to make the fields safer. Recently business groups (that are hurting and want to do what they can to get more customers) tried to change the ADA law to give them time to make changes before they had to pay a fine, but attorneys (who can make $20K a day doing drive by lawsuits) killed the changes.

  7. Don Shor

    SouthofDavis, re ADA reform: I’m happy to say SB1186 is alive and moving forward with bipartisan support, thanks in part to strong support from Sen. Feinstein. [url]http://www.sacbee.com/2012/06/25/4586189/disability-access-legal-threats.html[/url]

  8. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]“Three people are charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of pregnant 17-year-old field worker María Isabel Vásquez Jiménez, who died of heat stroke two days after collapsing in a vineyard.”

    They copped a plea and got community service and probation.[/quote]

    If it was as described, why did the DA allow them to get off so lightly??? Something doesn’t make sense here…

  9. JustSaying

    [quote]“‘Three people are charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of pregnant 17-year-old field worker María Isabel Vásquez Jiménez, who died of heat stroke two days after collapsing in a vineyard.’ They copped a plea and got community service and probation.”

    “If it was as described, why did the DA allow them to get off so lightly??? Something doesn’t make sense here…”[/quote]Given the egregious nature of the crime, the adequate witnesses, etc. how would it end up with such a light plea bargain.

    I remember a little about this story, but not much detail. I agree with Elaine; it seems something big is missing. Actually, it seems as though this law, if adequately enforced, would have done the job in this case and others like it.

    Do we know “the rest of the story”?

  10. David M. Greenwald

    “If it was as described, why did the DA allow them to get off so lightly??? Something doesn’t make sense here…”

    I’ll leave that to you to figure out.

  11. David M. Greenwald

    Here I think is the problem: (A) you have case where you can argue that the actual crime was negligent rather than malicious; (B) you have charged individuals likely without a criminal record and (C) they probably have a good deal of money plus (D) the DA perhaps is not going to go hard after some landowners and agribusiness people for what happened to a poor Mexican girl… JustSpeculating.

  12. JustSaying

    [quote]“If it was as described, why did the DA allow them to get off so lightly??? Something doesn’t make sense here…”

    “I’ll leave that to you to figure out.”[/quote]Please, that’s not helpful esp. if you think you know what happened (which, from your tone, sounds like the case).

  13. medwoman

    John and Jeff

    “So let’s just agree that no one should be forced to work under intolerable heat stress conditions and go on to discuss why AB 2346 creates more problems than it solves.” “

    Ok, so let’s say we all agree. How do you propose that we proceed so that these deaths, of which I have been aware for 30 years, stop happening ?

  14. David M. Greenwald

    JS: I can’t prove it, in fact you never can, but I often see cases where the perpetrator is white and the victim is a minority in this county that are either undercharged or not charged at all. Ajay Dev versus Brett Pedroia, Pedroia the son of the Judge’s clerk and the brother of a famous baseball player gets one year for a similar case to what gave Ajay Dev 378. Yeah, Brett took the plea, but Ajay was never offered something like that. Do I think it happens? Yes. Can I prove it, no. JustSaying.

  15. JustSaying

    I understand there are cases of such “justice.” If it’s just some folks’ opinion, that’s one thing. Sometimes, there [u]isn’t[/u] evidence to prosecute. If things are as reported in the 17-year-old’s case, and there appears to be more than adequate evidence, one would think the Justice Dept. would look into it as a civil rights issue.

    In this case, your 4:24 post, even if all these JustSpeculating conditions apply, the sentence seems more appropriate for negligence that would have resulted in someone getting sick for a week or so.

  16. Frankly

    [i]Ok, so let’s say we all agree. How do you propose that we proceed so that these deaths, of which I have been aware for 30 years, stop happening?[/i]

    First, I think it is unreasonable to expect to stop all deaths from happening. Farm work is dangerous. It requires working out in the sun during the hot time of hear in areas where it gets hot. Some will get heat stroke. Just like some golfers will get heat stroke. Can’t save the world.

    The current laws are strong enough. Enforce them.

    Then focus on education. Educate workers about heat stroke. Educate them to carry their own water with them. Educate them on clothing to wear to help repel heat. Educate them about the dangers of working on hot days. Educate the farmers and the contractors to recognize problems and how to respond. Rely on the labor union to help educate. Rely on private organizations like [url]www.AgSafe.org[/url].

    Be proactive instead of reactionary.

    Stop layering more regulations on farmers already struggling to survive.

    Stop implementing public policy that keeps reducing the number of jobs.

    Stop treating people like they are lazy, idiot children that need the care of nanny government forcing its imagionary proxy arm (business) to be nanny too.

    Expect that people can be educated to better care for themselves.

    Go after farmers that are truly abusive, and not punish all of them because of a few bad operators.

  17. Frankly

    [i]”Stop treating people like they are lazy, idiot children”[/i]

    I should have written “brain-lazy, un-teachable, irresponsible, children”

    Farm workers are anything but lazy. That is part of the problem… they are driven to work so hard to make money that they accept danger. It is similar to many other lines of work that come with higher degrees of danger.

  18. medwoman

    Jeff

    [quote]Then focus on education. Educate workers about heat stroke. Educate them to carry their own water with them. Educate them on clothing to wear to help repel heat. Educate them about the dangers of working on hot days. Educate the farmers and the contractors to recognize problems and how to respond. Rely on the labor union to help educate. Rely on private organizations like http://www.AgSafe.org.
    [/quote]

    [quote]Stop treating people like they are idiot children/quote]

    Interesting juxtaposition of ideas. What makes you think that they do not know these things. Do you really think that they are so ignorant as to not recognize it is hot. You are right, they are driven to work so hard to make money. They don’t choose to accept danger. They have no choice.

    [quote]Stop layering more regulations on farmers already struggling to survive[/quote]

    Interesting that you seem to find it acceptable for a few farm workers who are literally trying to survive to die so that the farmer can survive financially. Maybe a few of the “abusive farmers” should go out of business so that their farms can be run by someone who can do a better job and not imperil their workers. Wouldn’t you sy that promoting a healthy work force is a good business management strategy ?

  19. Frankly

    medwoman, I think where you are clash sometimes is due to our views realted to how people make their way in life. I don’t see the farmworker as some static class entity needing victim status and saving. Maybe because I worked in fields growing up, and because my life and economic circumstances have been largely void of public assistance (except for my current job which makes use of a federal small business loan program… which by the way is self-funding and receives zero government subsidy). But trust me on this, I am always thinking about my own happiness and personal well-being and setting goals and working toward them. I count on zero help from others other than the love of family and friends and the help of free association of other enterprising people. All I need is a robust free-market economy and I am absolutely sure I can make a living. Certainly you have worked as hard or harder than me to get to your place in life. But maybe because you have been more connected with public assistance and public-sector employment in your past, you don’t see the same private life-path opportunities that I see. That is just a guess of course.

    A migrating farm worker did not have public assistance coming here. He was self-motivated and self-reliant. Even so, he does not need to do that job. He can work in service industries where the work is safer and easier (still hard, but easier than farm work). However, he would make minimum wage and would not be allowed to work overtime. Most farmworkers choose to do the farmwork because: 1 – they make substantially more than they would in their home country, and 2 – they make more than other options available to them at a point in time. Frankly I think they are plenty happy to do this work in most cases until they hear folks assigning them some victim status. Certainly they were happy when they migrated here and started making 10-time the pay they could make back home. So why is it a sad job now?

    In this country they have options. They could learn to speak English and strive to learn a trade. They could start a business and come see me about what it would take to get a micro loan, and later other loans to help them grow. They could impress the farmer with their work ethic and skills maybe get a permanent job with some benefits. I am okay with public service that reach out to them to help them qualify for safer, higher-paying work. I’m not okay with this constant government manipualtion of free markets trying to make them something that they should not be and cannot be. It would be wonderful if farmworkers could make what a doctor makes and have full beneifts. That is not the way the economic world works.

    I have plenty of faith in farmers promoting a healthy work force. I urge you to spend some time in the field for harvest and see how the typical farmer interacts with the people doing this work. Go talk to a farmer. Most farmers are generally very kind people that care about other people… especially the people that work for them. I trust them much more to keep their workforce safe and as comfortable as possible than I do government. Government is not a loving organization. It is a bureauracracy of paper-pushers making and enforcing rules. They rarely get it right the first time, and then they screw it up even more trying to fix it.

    I’m not sure how labor contractors fit into this. I need to research it. Just doing the math there is not enough profit margin for them.

    One more thing to consider. Fresh healthy food is more expensive and low income people have problems affording it. Raise cost for famers and this food gets even more expensive and out of reach for low income folk. That is not a good thing at all.

  20. medwoman

    [quote] I don’t see the farmworker as some static class entity needing victim status and saving.[/quote]

    And neither do I although you seem to love rehashing this position that I have never taken. I see them as individuals who are working as hard as they can to survive. Do you really see no irony at all in this quoted statement and your portrayal of farm owners as a group who are “trying to survive” and thus needing protection as a group from government regulation. Seems like you were portraying these farmers as a group being victimized.

    Could one not equally feel that perhaps farmers as a group, do not mind government subsidies and regulations when it benefits them, as in government backed crop insurance, but will fight government protection for those who work for them. One could at least argue for consistency. Perhaps if the farmers do not want government intervention for their laborers, perhaps they, as a group, should give up all government assistance of any form.

    [quote]Frankly I think they are plenty happy to do this work in most cases until they hear folks assigning them some victim status. Certainly they were happy when they migrated here and started making 10-time the pay they could make back home. So why is it a sad job now? [/quote]

    Maybe I have a different perspective on what farmer workers think of their opportunities because I have heard what they say by speaking with them directly. I heard a lot from the parents and sisters of the 18 year old girl during the 3 days she was in the intensive care unit in Fresno prior to her death from heat related organ damage. They didn’t have to hear from some agitator or politician telling them how bad they had it. And also of interest, during the three days she was there, no farmer or farm representative came in to express their condolences or express concern about the family.

  21. medwoman

    [quote]I trust them much more to keep their workforce safe and as comfortable as possible than I do government.[/quote]

    This is not a matter of whom we “trust more”. It is a matter of results. You had stated that the number of farm deaths has remained essentially static. If that is true, then whomever we are “trusting” now is not being effective. In my profession, we have cut the number of deaths over time from a number of conditions, maternal hemorrhage, heart attack and sepsis to name three. We did this by accepting that there were certain best practices that had been determined to be the best for the patient and accepting those practices even though they were onerous and in many cases were different than what we had been taught in medical school and residency. But we went where the evidence pointed us with spectacular results. Many of these practices were imposed, “top down” from our leadership because they had a broader view of the numbers based on what was happening not only in our own regional practice, but by comparing what other groups were doing.
    Many doctors grumbled about losing their autonomy, or that this was going to put us out of practice.
    We did lose autonomy, but to the vast benefit of our patients, and it most certainly did not put us out of business. Sometimes, those who are working the closest to the front lines, are not the best to determine overall strategy. Sometimes, a more distant view actually provides the more accurate perspective.

    One last thought about irony. You put a great deal of faith in two aspects of our government, as you have stated: the military, and the police. What this ignores is that these two parts of our government are, and were designed to be civilian directed. I put much more faith in our civilian leadership, who by our constitution, are placed above these arms of the government. It is no accident that the elected president also carries the title
    Commander in Chief of the armed forces. I am not sure how you reconcile your respect for these two branches of government, and your seeming disdain for the rest.

    As for your last point. I couldn’t agree more. That is why I believe that one of the ways our government should
    ” protect” its citizens is from starvation. In this economy, I see food shortages, shortages of medical care, housing and education shortages as a much bigger threat to the citizenry than I do foreign menaces. I agree with you that the government has the duty to protect its citizens, I just don’t see that as limited to military protection although you seem to.

  22. medwoman

    hpierce

    “They have a choice”

    I think that our life experiences may have led us to see “choice” differently.
    It is one thing for me as an eighteen year old, living at home in a city, with no younger sibs to care for,
    to say ” I think I will work this summer ( in an entry level office job) to make money for school next year
    rather than spend the summer on the beach with my friends.
    That is a choice.
    It is an entirely different thing for the 18 year old, living in a country setting with her family, including four younger sibs to make the “choice”, I think I will work full time in the fields this summer because my dad has had an illness that has kept him from working full time, so that my younger brothers and sisters will have enough to eat. To me, this is not a choice, it is a necessity.

    This was the situation of the farmworker that I watched die in Fresno. I know because, as the only Spanish speaker on the medical team at the time, I became well acquainted with the family. The parents did not speak English, all the children were fluent. That didn’t help the 18 year old. It made a profound impression on me,
    since my circumstances growing up were not so different from this girl and I was only about 8 years older.
    It was perfectly obvious to me that she had not had the same opportunities, advantages, and choices I had had, through no fault of her own. There is a tendency to look at our own stories, those of our immediate family and friends and say, “we made it, we had to struggle….they can do the same.” Not always true.

  23. Mr.Toad

    “Stop layering more regulations on farmers already struggling to survive.”

    Ag is one sector of the economy that has done well in our poor economic times. With crop losses throughout the central US this year and corn and wheat prices soaring California farmers are poised to do quite well. There may be farming operations that are struggling to survive but agribusiness in California is doing quite well. The notion that farmers are victims in this is through the looking glass.

  24. Mr.Toad

    “Vote for Munn.”

    When hell freezes over! Voting out Yamada who is sensitive to the weakest among us and replacing her with an anti-tax Republican is the worst thing we could do.

  25. Mr.Toad

    The timing of this attack on Yamada is either unfortunate or further exploitation of this young woman’s death. The fact that Munn himself is weighing in makes me think its the later. If the bill is unworkable as Munn claims you can fix its deficiencies. Attacking Yamada to pressure her to vote against it instead of asking her to fix it smacks of election politics or the politics of indifference.

    Reading between the lines it tells me to vote for Yamada and send her money too because its obviously going to be a nasty campaign.

  26. E Roberts Musser

    If the facts as are described, and if the DA allowed such a lenient plea deal, how would stiffer regulations be any more effective? The laxer laws we have now were not enforced. What makes anyone think more stringent laws would be enforced?

    As I said before, something about this case does not add up…

  27. Frankly

    [i]”Ag is one sector of the economy that has done well in our poor economic times.”[/i]

    Great Toad, so let’s punish that industry because it is successful. When you run out of industries to target, what will you do? Soon, the only industry that the US will be able to brag about being the largest and most expansive is our government.

    Thank the US agriculture industry that our trade imbalance isn’t crappier. Growing economies in Asia combined with investments in new farming techniques, seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and equipment are the primary reason the US is a leader in the Ag business industries. So, let’s tax, regulate and unionize the crap out of that industry too so the US can cede it to other countries. Great idea!

    Global food prices had been dropping for decades until the cost of transportation started to skyrocket.
    [img]http://www.cscdc.org/miscjeff/FoodPrices.jpg[/img]

    What will happen if we force farmers to pay overtime and they get a flood of lawsuits from crappy and punitive legislation? It will hit the small farmer running on thin margins. I will cause a market shift toward larger farm operations that can only survive with economies of scale. It will tip the price advantage for some products – those more reliant on manual labor – to other countries. It will increase the cost of food. It will decrease the number of jobs in the ag industry. It will prevent current farmworkers from earning as much as their employers forbid them to more than 9 hours a day and 40 hours per week.

    Is this the best way we can honor the life of a 17-year old girl that died doing this work?

    [i]”In this economy, I see food shortages, shortages of medical care, housing and education shortages as a much bigger threat to the citizenry than I do foreign menaces. I agree with you that the government has the duty to protect its citizens, I just don’t see that as limited to military protection although you seem to.[/i]

    Medwoman, I know that is what you see (and feel). However, there are facts to consider also.

    The facts are that spending to address all these issues you list has skyrocketed, while the spending to provide safety has plummeted. The left either lies or is ignorant of the facts here. Military spending impacting social programs is a myth… a big myth.
    [img]http://www.cscdc.org/miscjeff/GovSpend2.jpg[/img]

    That top line is expanding partially because of healthcare cost inflation which is exacerbated by the high cost of labor in the healthcare field. It is also expanding because we have a growing population of poor. We have a growing population of poor because we have fewer jobs and a crappy education system.

    Since you are in the healthcare industry, why not agitate for healthcare employees to take some pay cuts and work longer hours? US nurses are the highest compensated and work the fewest hours in the world. Why not agitate to fix our education system so we stop churning out hundreds of thousands of dropouts and barely literate young people? Why not agitate for social security and Medicare reform that eliminates the fraud and waste? But most importantly, why not agitate for policies that encourage and support businesses – especially small businesses – to grow the economy and provide more jobs so that more can be lifted from poverty and needing to rely on nanny government… rather than the opposite?

    Vote for Munn. We have plenty of politicians that are sensitive to the weakest among us and prone to push policies that make us weaker. It is time to shake up the liberal establishment taking us to a fiscal cliff.

  28. Siegel

    “how would stiffer regulations be any more effective?”

    Seems to me that the regulations are aimed in a different place than current regulations and they would be enforceable with period inspections. Your question is actually comparing apples to watermelon.

  29. David M. Greenwald

    “Great Toad, so let’s punish that industry because it is successful.”

    Why do you see this as punishment for being successful – it seems more likely it is a punishment for not treating workers as well as it could.

  30. Frankly

    Don: Creative destruction at the hand of government is not in the free market capitalist playbook. You should read Adam Smith and Ayn Rand to get a better understanding of this concept.

    “not treating workers as well as it could.”

    That is a subjective concept Toad. I bet your idea of treating farmworkers workers as well as “it chould” is probably at least $60,000 per year, full healthcare, 28 days per year of paid time off, and a full pension paying 90% of salary retiring at age 57.

    Someone on the outside can ALWAYS make the case that some business is not treating workers as well as it “could.”

    What about the crab fishermen in the Bering Sea? I bet those boats and captains can be made to keep their workers safer! They should also be forced to accommodate more female employees and employees with special needs.

    This crap just never ends.

    The way it should work… that works the best… employees should exercise their free choice to decide what work to do and were to work. They should be educated on the dangers, and ways they can mitigate risks and then decide if they still want to do the job. If they decide to do the job, then they accept the difficulties and risks associated with the job.

    They are not slaves. They are not victims. They are free people. If they don’t like how they are being treated by their employer, they can quit and do something else. They can always consider moving back to their home country if things are that bad. If things are really that bad, then farmers would have trouble hiring workers and they would be forced to make improvements.

  31. rusty49

    “What about the crab fishermen in the Bering Sea? I bet those boats and captains can be made to keep their workers safer! They should also be forced to accommodate more female employees and employees with special needs.”

    Jeff, LOL, you crack me up. I can see it now, the captain of the Time Bandit shouting over the loudspeaker, “get his wheelchair wheel untangled from the crab cage line”.

  32. Frankly

    Do fieldworkers know about those scarfs that are filled with polymer beads that soak up water and help keep a person cool on hot days?

    [url]http://heatcutters.com/cool-scarf/[/url]

    You can wear them around your neck and it will help decrease body temperature by several degrees. The one in this link are more expensive, but you can get others cheap (around $4-5).

    You can purchase five lbs of the polymer beads for about $40 and make scarfs for a hundred people.

    My wife – who is more sensitive to heat than I am – wears them when we hike in hot areas. She soaks two, and then brings them in a zip-lock bag (filled with about a cup of extra water) until we hit the trail head then she wears them.

    This is just one example of some education that should be provided that would help save lives without implementing costly and punitive regulations against farmers.

  33. biddlin

    From the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health:
    “During the summer of 2011, USCG Fishing Safety personnel in Alaska requested assistance from NIOSH to understand the hazards in skiff operations that has resulted in partnerships with fishing villages to provide better solutions to prevent drownings.

    NIOSH Engineering Solutions have been adopted by the fishing industry.

    NIOSH developed an emergency stop (E-stop) that can be retrofitted to any winch. When engaged, it locks the winch in place limiting the severity of entanglement. The technology was licensed to a company in Seattle, WA to produce a commercially-available retrofit kit. More than a dozen vessels now have an e-stop installed on their winches and winch manufacturers are now making new winches with an e-stop as a standard feature. The development and commercialization of this device was honored with the CDC Director’s Innovation Award in 2008.

    NIOSH developed a low-cost Hatch and Door Monitoring System for commercial fishing boats to aid in the prevention of progressive flooding – a major cause of vessel loss. The system has been sea-tested on two boats in the Bering Sea. Based on positive results and reception from industry, NIOSH is presently in licensing negotiations with a company in Oregon to produce and market the safety monitor.

    To assist boat captains and crews in recognizing degraded vessel stability due to liquid slosh in their tanks and holds, NIOSH has designed an improved Slack-Tank Monitor. The system features enhanced robustness compared to existing systems and increases information available from typical industry-standard monitors. The design can also be adapted to function as a multi-level flood sensor in bilges and watertight compartments. Development and testing are on-going, but industry interest in the commercialization of this system is high.

    Individual Fishermen and Fishing companies are changing safety policies based on research performed by the NIOSH Commercial Fishing Safety Program.”

    In April 2011 and as a direct result of NIOSH’s personal flotation device (PFD) research and outreach, the Alaska Scallop Association has established a 100% PFD policy while on deck for its member boats. The Association requested six NIOSH DVDs entitled, “Man Overboard: Prevention and Recovery” to help educate its crews as to why it has adopted this PFD policy and why PFDs are so important for survival.

    The F/V Bristol Mariner and F/V Aleutian Mariner also participated in the NIOSH PFD study. As a result of participation in the PFD study, In September 2011, the Mariner fleet of crab fishing vessels (8 vessels in total) has instituted a PFD policy and purchased PFDs for all crewmembers to wear while working on deck.

    The F/V Wizard, from the Deadliest Catch, participated in the NIOSH personal flotation device (PFD) study. The F/V Wizard has instituted a 100% mandatory PFD requirement while on deck. The NIOSH study played a role in the captain’s decision to make PFDs mandatory

    Other agencies and organizations also utilize information from the NIOSH Commercial Fishing Safety Research Program.

  34. Frankly

    biddlin, I knew the crab fishing comment would send a few of you scrambling for retorts. You do note that these NIOSH solutions are optional, right?

    So you know, I have no problem with government science agencies making recommendations to industry that can be adopted as their choice.

    Also note:

    [i]In April 2011 and as a direct result of NIOSH’s personal flotation device (PFD) research and outreach, the Alaska Scallop Association has established a 100% PFD policy while on deck for its member boats. The Association requested six NIOSH DVDs entitled, “Man Overboard: Prevention and Recovery” to help [b]educate[/b] its crews as to why it has adopted this PFD policy and why PFDs are so important for survival.[/i]

    There is that word again that I keep advocating. Education over rules. It isn’t a novel idea. Most of us with experience managing people know that we get better results from educating and empowering people to make good decisions, rather than putting out a huge book of rules to live by.

  35. Mr.Toad

    I read Munn’s piece in the Enterprise. If he wasn’t running against Yamada you would wonder why the outrage now with the bill already passed by the Assembly. The time to make this an issue with Yamada would have been before it passed the lower house. If Munn was sincere instead of attacking Yamada he would have written his piece as a plea to Senator Lois Wolk to fix the bills deficiencies or kill the bill in the Senate, where, it is most likely not going to be passed in its present form. Sadly, Ms. Vasquez is once again being exploited, this time by John Munn for petty political gain.

  36. medwoman

    [quote]There is that word again that I keep advocating. Education over rules. It isn’t a novel idea. Most of us with experience managing people know that we get better results from educating and empowering people to make good decisions, rather than putting out a huge book of rules to live by.[/quote]

    So Jeff, let’s take this into my field. If I am going to be performing surgery on you, which would you rather my team use, enforced policies of hand washing and antiseptic procedures demonstrated to save lives, or suggestions that it might be nice to use those procedures if you feel like it ? After all, it takes time to do all those procedures and time is money in the OR, and not that many patients die of sepsis, and after all, we can’t save everyone.

  37. Don Shor

    [i]Education over rules. [/i]
    I have done greenhouse management and nursery work, and landscape contracting. All involved the application of pesticides, as does agriculture. Education is what the government is enforcing by regulations when it comes to pesticides. As a PCO I had to get continuing education credits to retain my certification. I had to certify in writing that I had trained my employees to mix, apply, and store pesticides of varying toxicities. Farm workers are routinely exposed to toxic chemicals, directly and indirectly.
    Would most farmers, greenhouse growers, and nursery owners routinely expose their workers to pesticides? No. Does it happen regularly, even in well-run operations? Yes.
    Is government necessary to regulate management of pesticides being used by and around farmworkers as well as employees of nurseries and greenhouses? Absolutely.
    It is the combination of government regulation and industry-generated training practices, supported by the best research provided by scientists working at publicly funded universities, that leads to worker safety.

  38. Don Shor

    Here’s an example.
    So the NIH funds research about the effectiveness of specific pesticide safety practices. They interview farmworkers, they take samples to determine the organophosphate (OP) levels in those workers. They determine that some specific pesticide handling practices and behaviors by workers exposed to pesticides in the course of their work can reduce their OP levels, and the levels they carry home to their families (exposure continues on clothing, skin, etc.).
    (WPS = Worker Protection Standard, from the EPA)
    [i]Currently, the standard approach for reducing fieldworker pesticide exposures is education. Many farmworkers, however, do not receive mandated WPS training or do not receive training about all of the topics required by the WPS curriculum [Arcury et al., 1999; Shipp et al., 2007; Strong et al., 2008]. In this study, 40% of participants reported that they had never received any information or training about how to protect themselves from pesticides.[/i]
    So should the government mandate the training/education? Or just count on employers to do it?
    Will the training work in and of itself, or does it require reinforcement via regulations?
    Well…
    [i]Intervention theory and practice, however, specify that [b]under most circumstances education is not enough [/b]to bring about behavior change. A large body of evidence support ecologic theory, which postulates that social, physical, and environmental factors interact to affect health and health behavior [McLeroy et al., 1988; Stokols, 1992; Green et al., 1996]. At the workplace, physical and social characteristics determine whether workers adopt and consistently carry out recommended behaviors [Stokols et al., 1996; Oldenburg et al., 2002].
    Accordingly, contextual and structural factors such as [b]whether employers provide fieldworkers with necessary materials and facilities (e.g., soap, water, gloves, showering facilities, laundering), whether break time is sufficiently long (e.g., enough time to wash hands, eat, and rest), employers’ and crew leaders’ commitment to worker safety (e.g., reinforcement of behaviors by farm staff), and how workers are compensated (e.g., piece-rate vs. hourly) likely influence farmworkers’ abilities to carry out WPS-recommended behaviors[/b].[/i]
    So, to achieve safer conditions regarding pesticides, should government mandate the materials, facilities, break times? Or count on the employer to provide those? Do you think the risk to profits might affect the likelihood of employers providing the materials necessary to increase worker safety?

  39. Frankly

    Don: good counter too. You make some good points.

    In my business we have this thing called the SOP. It is thousands of pages long. I have trouble hiring and training new workers because it takes them years to become knowledgeable enough about all the loan eligibility and operational procedures required by my Federal regulator as documented in this SOP. Here is the difference though. SBA runs our loan program as a public-private partnership. Like in your pesticide example, the agency is working with private operators in the field to design the best set of rules they can. Do they ever get it perfect?… absolutely not. But rules are required.

    Where we have a problem is when the rules are top-down set by politicians based on some emotional and reactionary driver. Legislation like this is generally not good. It usually causes more problems than it solves.

    Pesticides are poisons. They can harm many people at once. They can harm people that have no power to make decisions to govern their own risks associated with the use of them. For that reason we need regulations. But let’s say that the only people at risk are the employees of nurseries and landscapers. As long as those employees are completely educated as to the risks related to those pesticides, I think it should be their personal decision for what work they are willing to do.

    Medwoman’s example, although useful in this argument, is also not a good example because she is really talking about detailed operational protocol for a complex task and not labor regulations targeting a broad role of an uncomplicated set of tasks.

    Also, both of your example include are of rules created by people working in the profession. For example, surgical protocol has been developed by medical professionals over years observing what works and what does not work. Pesticide regulations are the result of chemists and other technical professionals doing in-depth research to determine real risks.

    What I understand about his bill that Yamada is pushing… it is rejected by the farmers and the farm lobby. It is top-down punitive against farmers… as if they are in need of punishment for the death of this girl. That is completely different than your story and medwoman’s story.

    Even so, I think you both make good points about the need for rules. I agree as long as those rules are developed in partnership with the business that must comply.

  40. medwoman

    Jeff

    [quote]I agree as long as those rules are developed in partnership with the business that must comply. [/quote]

    Another point of agreement ! This was precisely my point with regard to John Munn’s piece against Mariko
    Yamada. It would be far better to attempt to work together with those in the industry and those in the legisltature to develop reasonable rules rather than label someone “anti agriculture” which does nothing more than perhaps advance one’s political aspirations.

  41. medwoman

    Jeff

    [quote]Medwoman’s example, although useful in this argument, is also not a good example because she is really talking about detailed operational protocol for a complex task and not labor regulations targeting a broad role of an uncomplicated set of tasks.[/quote]

    A more apples to apples comparison. Cleaning an operating room between operations involves a set of uncomplicated tasks. So the question is…..would you rather the housekeeping department be given strict rules about sterile processing, which equipement to clean first, exactly which antiseptic agents to use for which equipment and which areas of the room, or would you prefer that they be able to “use their own judgemen and common senset” and/ or perhaps save the hospital some money by using less effective antiseptic agents ?

    In this case, as in the farm laborers case, the task is simple. But strict adherence to best practices has the ability to save lives.

  42. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]Seems to me that the regulations are aimed in a different place than current regulations and they would be enforceable with period inspections. Your question is actually comparing apples to watermelon.[/quote]

    Not following you here…

  43. Delta Farmer

    Mr. Toad,
    Yolo County farmers tried unsuccessfully to interact with Mariko Yamada’s office regarding AB 2346 before the Assembly voted for it, but the vote occurred so rapidly that few farmers even knew about the bill before it was voted on. Mr Munn is not orchestrating anything here, farmers are angry at Yamada’s vote for legislation that is utterly unnecessary and punitive, and it Was a party line vote. The only thing Mr. Munn is guilty of is pointing out the facts and trying to point out his opponents faults.

    Mr. Greenwald, if shade, water and break requirements are not already mandated, then how is it that my Heat Illness Prevention Plan cites specific law regarding these requirements? Furthermore if it is not already covered by law, how does Cal-OSHA have the ability to assess significant fines and even shut down entire farming operations that violate the above statutes (which also mandate annual Heat Illness Prevention training for supervisors and employees)? Agriculture has embraced the requirements because they are reasonable, and they work.

    AB-2346 and its successors are utterly redundant, unworkable and punitive.

    Much has been said of the 17 year old heat death. It was tragic.
    It happened in 2008 – 4 years ago.

    The rules Have changed. Farm workers are safer now than they were because they are better educated about the risks.

    AB-2346 is bad law and Mariko Yamada voted for it. Now she is trying to revise it through interaction with the Senate!? Why did she vote for it in the first place if it wasn’t right?

  44. Frankly

    medwoman:

    [i]In this case, as in the farm laborers case, the task is simple. But strict adherence to best practices has the ability to save lives.[/i]

    Are these government regulations, or best practice protocol? I was not aware that government is dictating medical procedure. I would expect the medical professionals working in the industry to be much better at determining what procedures have the best safety outcomes. Just like I would trust the farming professionals to be the best at determining the best safety outcomes for their business.

    And by the way, the government did not create the Internet… the private-sector did. =)

  45. wdf1

    JB: [i]And by the way, the government did not create the Internet… the private-sector did. =)[/i]

    History of the Internet ([url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Internet[/url]) =)

  46. medwoman

    Jeff

    Both actually. There are certainly government regulations governing hospital minimum requirements. These tend to be the very basic and there are many additional best practice protocols as you suggest.

    But I am sure, given how closely you follow the news that you made a factual error in your statement:
    “I was not aware that government is dictating medical procedure”. I would be very surprised if you have not been following the current controversy regarding many state governments’ attempts to limit the very safe, and legal practice of abortion, by prescribing tighter and tighter laws limited who can perform the procedure and under what licensure and level of facility despite many, many years of documented safety of this procedure in the out patient setting.

  47. Frankly

    No the government did not “create” the Internet. Government and civilian scientists working for defense contributed some inventions that lead to the Internet as we know it… the one that allows the proliferation of myths that the government created it.
    [quote]”It’s an urban legend that the government launched the Internet. The myth is that the Pentagon created the Internet to keep its communications lines up even in a nuclear strike. The truth is a more interesting story about how innovation happens—and about how hard it is to build successful technology companies even once the government gets out of the way.

    For many technologists, the idea of the Internet traces to Vannevar Bush, the presidential science adviser during World War II who oversaw the development of radar and the Manhattan Project. In a 1946 article in The Atlantic titled “As We May Think,” Bush defined an ambitious peacetime goal for technologists: Build what he called a “memex” through which “wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear, ready made with a mesh of associative trails running through them, ready to be dropped into the memex and there amplified.”

    That fired imaginations, and by the 1960s technologists were trying to connect separate physical communications networks into one global network—a “world-wide web.” The federal government was involved, modestly, via the Pentagon’s Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. Its goal was not maintaining communications during a nuclear attack, and it didn’t build the Internet. Robert Taylor, who ran the ARPA program in the 1960s, sent an email to fellow technologists in 2004 setting the record straight: “The creation of the Arpanet was not motivated by considerations of war. The Arpanet was not an Internet. An Internet is a connection between two or more computer networks.”

    If the government didn’t invent the Internet, who did? Vinton Cerf developed the TCP/IP protocol, the Internet’s backbone, and Tim Berners-Lee gets credit for hyperlinks.

    But full credit goes to the company where Mr. Taylor worked after leaving ARPA: Xerox. It was at the Xerox PARC labs in Silicon Valley in the 1970s that the Ethernet was developed to link different computer networks. Researchers there also developed the first personal computer (the Xerox Alto) and the graphical user interface that still drives computer usage today.[/quote]

  48. wdf1

    JB:[i]”If the government didn’t invent the Internet, who did? Vinton Cerf developed the TCP/IP protocol, the Internet’s backbone, and Tim Berners-Lee gets credit for hyperlinks.”[/i]

    Vinton Cerf participated in developing TCP/IP while at DARPA ([url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vint_Cerf[/url]), a government agency. I see we’re back to the old argument about whether we give credit just to private individuals or to any public (tax-funded) infrastructure that helped to facilitate the innovations.

  49. Frankly

    [i]I was not aware that government is dictating medical procedure”. [/i]

    Medwoman, I get your point, but I think you are deflecting my point. The government does not regulate detailed protocol (For example: All patients should have a qualified nurse available within 10 ft. of every patient at all times.) Although I wouldn’t be surprised if the nurses union pushed politicians to approve a regulation like this to increase the number of union members. But, so why do it to the farmers?

    I was thinking about this Yamada bill and others like it, and wondering if more of our legislation today is driven by a mothering instinct? Frankly, I have had similar debates with my wife related to our two sons. She tends to want rules and behavior that protect them from harm. I tend to want rules and behaviors that cause them to learn to care for themselves. For example, I would push for stronger patient advocacy and patient education before I would support legislation that dictates service from the healthcare industry to help patients make decisions about their care. I am guessing that you might think of many patients being incapable of self-advocacy and therefore needing services to direct them.

    There is a leadership model from Blanchard that matches four development levels with four corresponding management approaches. At the lowest level people need complete direction. At the highest level, they need to be left alone so they can take care of business themselves. In between there is coaching, and easy access to help as needed. I see the left treating many more people as stuck in the low development levels, incapable to help themselves, and hence, needing constant direct help from nanny government. Conservatives like me think that this represses the development of these people and creates a codependency. The better approach is a sort of tough love augmented by copious and high-quality education… enabling more self-sufficiency up to the point that someone can get to level four and opine to be left alone so they can take care of their own business.

    Can some of our differences of opinion be due to our difference experiences and perspectives as mother and father, or maybe as different genders?

  50. Frankly

    wdf1: I am not arguing the benefit provided for this and other industries from government-run research projects. Note that most of these inventions came from government defense projects… you know, that arm of government that the left wants to shrink and eventually get rid of so more money can be shifted to entitlements. The point is that these government inventions did little to benefit humanity until enterprising people in private business took off from there. For example, all of our communications protocols, our devices and our GUI interfaces have FAR advanced with millions of additional inventions… all created by private-sector people pursuing profit.

    You can come up with the idea for the Pet Rock; but the person that actually implements the idea is infinitely more valuable to humanity.

  51. medwoman

    Jeff

    [quote]Medwoman, I get your point, but I think you are deflecting my point. The government does not regulate detailed protocol (For example: All patients should have a qualified nurse available within 10 ft. of every patient at all times.) Although I wouldn’t be surprised if the nurses union pushed politicians to approve a regulation like this to increase the number of union members. But, so why do it to the farmers? [/quote]

    No Jeff, I am not deflecting your point. And you are in error on this. The government does, and in my opinion, should have very stringent regulations for these protocols. A quick look at the OSHA requirements for hospitals, available on OSHA’s web site, would show you just how detailed some of these specifications are.
    The disposal of sharps for instance since this is an uncomplicated, but detailed task. Containers for various sharps must be of specified sizes, have lids, be either labeled for sharps or red in color,and must sit upright at all times. I know from personal experience that there are specific rules regulating how many hand disinfectant dispensers there must be in a given amount of space and where they can be mounted, what color the receptacles for different kinds of hazardous materials must be, and a host of other regulations, which to an outsider can seem silly or over reaching, but have led to a marked reduction in hospital acquired infections and personel injuries and illness from handling contaminated substances.

    I realize that this may not be apparent to you as a patient. It probably seems self evident that the doctors and nurses would wash their hands between treating different patients. But these basic sanitary measures were not nearly as strictly enforced 30 years ago when I started in medicine. Tightening up on a number of practices as specific as how close to the patient a given piece of equipment must be, and how much weight a given piece of equipment must be able to bear and many, many other behind the scenes regulations are life saving.
    Again, since these restrictions operate behind the scenes, I don’t think most patients are aware that it is government regulation and inspection that drives much of what we perceive as the hospitals’ safe practices.
    Again, I know from personal experience that hospitals will try to cut cost corners where they can and that period hospital inspections from the Joint Commission are what keeps us in compliance.

    Also, I don’t believe that our gender, or role as a mother or father, has much to do with the differences in our attitudes towards what should be regulated for safety and what should be merely a matter of education. My partner is male, and he tends to see these issues from a perspective much closer to mine than to yours. He also has worked in the medical field, so that may play into what I see as a possibility.
    I think that what we have chosen as our lives work may have a great deal to do with how we see the world.
    I live in a world where how many milliliters of a medication are in a vial and how that vial is color coded may
    make a difference to whether a patient lives or dies when it is being given in an emergency. It therefore seems obvious to me that less errors will occur and more patients will be discharged home alive if we follow extremely strict protocols and regulations which govern much of what we do. My work has become increasingly regulated by the government, and rightfully so in those areas where we have not made progress on our own.

    So what I believe about the interplay between private industry and the government is as follows:
    If there is an identified problem or risk, the industry, be it medicine, or aviation, or farming has the responsibility to step up immediately and address it. If this is done promptly, with verifiable results, this would be the optimal outcome. If it is not done promptly, then I believe that the role of the government, one of the roles you and I have agreed is to protect its citizens, is to step in and ensure that the problem is alleviated.

    Farm labor may indeed have become safer as Delta Farmer says over the past four years, however, the kind of tragedy that happened in 2008, was happening when I was an intern in 1984. Please forgive my skepticism that the problem that had not been adequately addressed in over 20 years, has been fixed in the past four.
    If anyone has data to demonstrate that heat related in illness in the field is no longer a threat, I would love to see it.

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