The train derailment and subsequent environmental disaster on February 3rd in East Palestine, Ohio, is the embodiment of a greedy economic perspective and the damage it creates. The railroad industry, like so many others, produces billions of dollars in profit for its stockholders. Yet those profits are often at the expense of the safety, health and well-being of its workers and many others, as a greedy obsession with cutting costs gets precedence over humane concerns.
The people of East Palestine and surrounding areas could be dealing with the after effects of this environmental disaster – one of the worst in U.S. history – for decades. The incident demonstrates the dire effects of putting short term corporate profit maximization before the well-being of people and the state of our world. This is an industry, remember, that only months ago fought tooth and nail to deny its workers sick pay.
I asked Max Alvarez, editor of The Real News Network, to discuss with me what really happened in East Palestine; the workers who tried to warn executives at Norfolk Southern of the dangers posed by their antiquated brake system and merciless cost cutting – only to be rebuffed; and how, if we do not return to an era of appropriate regulation as a guardrail against corporate irresponsibility, the next disaster is just waiting to happen.
The greedy overreach of such companies as Norfolk Southern make clear the importance of today’s resurgent labor movement in the United States. All of us have a part to play in ending the tyranny of corporate domination. Let’s pray it won’t take any more disasters to make it happen.
The time for change is now.
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