First, there is so much to be said about this terrible Florida lead melt investigation written by Corey Johnson, Rebecca Woolington, and Eli Murray in the Tampa Bay Times. Read the whole thing, as virtually every paragraph brings another horrific revelation, and a summary cannot do it justice. Here are two of seven key research findings, but the stories of those affected – including the children of workers who were given lead poisoning from dust by their parents – are critically important:
Eight out of ten employees had enough lead in their blood between 2014 and 2018 to run the risk of high blood pressure, kidney dysfunction or cardiovascular disease. In the past five years, at least 14 current and former workers have had heart attacks or strokes, some after working in the most contaminated areas of the facility. One employee spent more than three decades with the poison before dying of heart and kidney disease at the age of 56. Gopher knew their factory contained too much lead dust, but the company turned off ventilation functions that trap fumes and move slowly to fix faulty mechanical systems. The workers were vulnerable and wore face masks that could not protect them if the toxicity levels rose. In 2019, an employee was exposed to 15 times the air concentration against which his breathing apparatus could not protect.
An important thought I would like to relate to this story is that we therefore need local newspapers. The Tampa Bay Times clearly put a lot of resources into this very important story that might otherwise have gone unnoticed.
Another important thought: workers need unions. And government regulations on safety in the workplace (which, as you can see, often come under pressure from groups like trade unions).
The second piece I’d like to bring to your attention is Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins, who is following up on the NCAA’s poor treatment of the women’s tournament’s players. One argument you will have heard many times as to why the women were given inferior weight equipment, food, and even bucket bags, is that women’s basketball just isn’t profitable. Why, it’s practically an act of charity for them to have a tournament at all, some people imply. Yes. About the.
You know how much sales of NCAA Division I women’s basketball totaled in the years 2018-2019? Almost a billion dollars. According to the economist Daniel Rascher, a financial analyst at OSKR, who studied the numbers reported by the NCAA himself and testified as an expert on the governing body ongoing antitrust litigation. “I don’t see them losing any money on it,” he says.
You know how many companies will advertise on ESPN during this women’s tournament, brands associated with the elegance of stars such as Iowa’s Caitlin Clark and Stanford’s Kiana Williams playing the game like silk strings? A total of 77, including Verizon, Chevrolet, L’Oréal and Nike.
Jenkins has much more information, despite the NCAA’s efforts to obscure this point. A key quote from a Senior Vice President, Sports Revenue Management at Disney Advertising Sales: “We were very satisfied with the performance, both from the point of view of demand and the public. “
So often when we talk about inequality and injustice, many “facts” are cited to support it as being really fair and reasonable. This shows that it is worth taking a closer look.