Although why they should be defies explanation.
The fine arose from an incident wherein a WM employee was trampled to death in Long Island two years ago during the insanity of the day-after-Thanksgiving bargain shopping.
Wal-Mart Stores has spent a year and more than a million dollars in legal fees battling a $7,000 fine that federal safety officials assessed after shoppers trampled a Wal-Mart employee to death at a store on Long Island on the day after Thanksgiving in 2008.
Wal-Mart's all-out battle against the relatively minor penalty has mystified and even angered some federal officials. In contesting the penalty, Wal-Mart has filed 20 motions and responses totaling nearly 400 pages and has spent at least $2 million on legal fees, according to OSHA's calculations.
OSHA assessed a relatively modest $7,000 fine ($6-7K being the amount corporate-owned courts have decided is what a human life is worth [see decisions after Imperial Sugar and BP Houston explosions, as well as various mine disasters, all due to corporate negligence and a refusal to follow safety procedures because they were "too expensive" and interfered with profits]) but Wal-mart isn't having any and the poor old regulators can't figure it out. What's the big deal? Well, it's all right here:
But in fighting the federal fine, Wal-Mart is arguing that the government is improperly trying to define "crowd trampling" as an occupational hazard that retailers must take action to prevent.
The dispute has become so heated - and Wal-Mart's defense so vigorous - that officials at OSHA, an arm of the Labor Department, complain that they have had to devote huge numbers of staff time to the case, including 4,725 hours of work by employees in the legal office.
The company has made so many demands that Labor Department officials said they would not discuss the case except on condition of anonymity because they feared being subpoenaed about their discussions with a reporter.
That Federal regulators claim not to understand the standard Corporate US hatred of regulation regardless of how little the fine for breaking a reg and killing an employee might be, is the real mystery here. It isn't as if this is anything new, certainly not for WM, which is merely doing what WM always does - trying to prevent any stinking govt agency from telling it that it can't kill its employees any damn way it pleases.
And, in fact, that is an attitude shared by, for instance, the CEOs of BeePee (which extends it to a right to destroy non-employees and entire oceans as well if that's what it takes to bump up its profits a point or point-and-a-half), Imperial Sugar, various mining operations and manufacturing companies, and of course construction companies. All of them share the same mindset and have gone to great lengths - and great expense - to defend it: employees, and indeed, the entire planet, are their property and may be disposed of as they see fit. They have shown themselves willing to fight anybody who says otherwise.
It is disturbing that after all these decades of corporate bitchin and moanin and scratchin and clawin over every single little reg or law that might possibly favor employees, Obama and his regulators still don't get that simple fact.
An examination of the kind of twisted values we've grown to admire, values that allow the murder of a human being if it means getting 15 cents off a pair of $1 socks made by Chinese prison labor, will have to wait for another day.
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