June 4

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Thoughts on Safety

By Mark Miller

June 4, 2020


To understand the practice of safety, one must appreciate that the first rule of safety engineering is that “if it can happen it will happen”. Therefore, to practice safety, one must anticipate that things go wrong when we least expect it and are beyond our control.

Unions have always played a big part in safety in the workplace.

We must never forget our role in preventing injury and saving lives.

Bad things happen beyond our control. We can work to prevent death and to minimize injury.

Jim Hightower writing in the The Hightower Lowdown wrote the following short but pointed article:

Who Says We Don’t Need Unions

The National Transportation Safety Board has issued its official review of the “The Miracle on the Hudson” – the US Airways flight in New York that struck a flock of geese, lost all power, and was forced to land in the Hudson River last January.

NTSB’s analysis confirms what we learned from news reports at the time – Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and the rest of the crew on Flight 1549 performed marvelously in the face of looming disaster, saving the lives of 150 horrified passengers by landing the jet intact and quickly evacuating it. Their performance has been hailed with such phrases as “stoic”, “nearly flawless” and “heroic”.

But another laudatory term should be applied to them as well: “union”. Practically everyone involved in averting this disaster was a union-trained professional. Captain Sully himself is not only a member of the Airline Pilots Association, but also served on its national governing committee and is APA’s former safety chairman. Indeed, he and his union have had to fight airline chieftains who’ve tried to cut back on the safety-training programs.

Likewise, the flight attendants who so expeditiously moved everyone off the plane are members of their union, the Association of Flight Attendants, which also stresses safety. The ferry crews that zipped right up to the wings to rescue passengers – they’re in the Seafarers International Union, which gives them the safety courses that enabled them to respond as they did. The cops, firefighters and air traffic controllers also performed marvelously – all are union trained.

– Jim Hightower, The Hightower Lowdown, July 2009

BE PROUD, BE SAFE, BE UNION

Blondell & Associates gives many lectures to union groups and has always advocated safety for the benefit of union and management.