Death Profits!


Posted on June 25, 2014 by Ruth O’Brien

Employees in the United States have feeble to no real rights.  Of course, the employee does not discover this until he is on the wrong side of the employer’s or his managers’ ire.  But in civil-rights and union law, scholars have known this for years.  Indeed, it is/was the theme of scholarship the moment the initial enthusiasm waned about the federal legislation, whether it was the Wagner Act unionizing employees, the Fair Labor Standards Act bestowing minimum wages, or Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.   Or, should one say, at the very least with the first wave of revisionism, anywhere from 10 to 25 years after employees’ enthusiasm at getting less than a big fat nothing.

But employers’ profiting from their employees’ deaths — well, that’s another thing.  A category instead of a kind, if you were doing an SAT-exam prep on this.  It’s one thing if an employer doesn’t pay, or pays next to nothing, for an employee’s death that they’re culpable for causing (old news — see OSHA); but another if they profit from death.  That’s even better than OSHA’s stats on robots (uncaged, not curtained like the Wizard of Oz) killing their colleagues and co-workers.

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About Ruth O'Brien

Professor Ruth O'Brien, The Graduate Center, The City University of New York (CUNY) & Honorary Unaffiliated Academic Book Series Editor for The Public Square, Princeton University Press & Heretical Thought, Oxford University Press, USA Last book: Out of Many, One: Obama & the Third American Political Tradition (U of Chicago 2013). Nickname: Professorette by Rush Limbaugh (see

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