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Federal Government Supporting Companies in Violation of Safety Laws

Posted By Arnold & Itkin || 12-Dec-2013

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 violations of 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 contracts.

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