A recent congressional report has heavily criticized the U.S. federal government
for their blatant support of companies who have been found to have excessive
safety laws and wage laws. This "support" has been demonstrated to the companies
by awarding them with tens of billions of dollars in contracts regardless
of their countless violations and the fact they have paid millions of
dollars in penalties.
Violations Over the Past Six Years
According to the report done on behalf of the Democratic senators of the
Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee, they found countless examples
of the governments support for companies in a trend during the last six
years. One major example of this is found in the federal contracts just
signed with Imperial Sugar for an estimated $94.8 million dollars in just
the last year. What the contract doesn't take into account is the
fact that their company was cited for $6 million in 2008 for their flagrant
disregard for health and safety laws. The citation came as a consequence
of an explosion in a Georgia factory which result in the death of 14 factory workers.
Another example is seen in the government's support of Tyson Foods.
From the year 2000 until present, this particular company has received
over $4.2 billion in contracts with the government and yet they have been
cited a number of times for safety violations and worker deaths and injury
in their factories. Since 1999, Tyson Foods has lost 11 workers as a result
of these hazards.
Concerns Presented in the Report
In this report, the committee is urging the government to reconsider their
ways and change their practices in who they support with governmental
contracts. They found the federal government currently has over $500 billion
dollars' worth of contracts per year and a number of them are in major
violations of the government standards for health and safety. Within these
particular companies is represented almost 22% of the American workforce
and therefore many of these individuals are at risk. The report expresses
a deep concern that the federal government that the tax payer's money
is supporting companies who place their employees in danger.
According numbers mentioned in the report, $81 billion dollars in the fiscal
2012 year was paid to 49 federal contractors who were in violation. These
particular 49 companies have paid a total of $196 million in violation
fines for 1,776 separate violations over the years. The writers of the
report are calling the government to action to consult with companies
in order to determine if they are following the standards before offering