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June 01, 1985 - Image 5

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Michigan Daily, 1985-06-01

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Saturday, June 1, 1985

The Michigan Daily

Page 5

01 e Micthigan Ruttv
Vol. XCV, No. 10-S
95 Years of Editorial Freedom
Managed and Edited by Students at
The University of Michigan
Editorials represent a majority opinion of the
Daily Editorial Board
Increase awareness
MICHIGAN IS one of 24 states which is not responsible
to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Ad-
ministration (OSHA), which means the state has to come
up with its own set of equally effective regulations to those
set down by the federal government. The federal OSHA's
Hazard Communication Act, or "Right to Know" law, will
take effect in October, as Michigan legislators are busy
working on a similar but more inclusive bill.
This week, the House Labor Committee passed a bill
which makes employers responsible for providing their
employees with basic training about toxic and other
hazardous substances which workers might be exposed to
at the worksite. The bill also stipulates that all containers
be labeled. Because of this provision, employees have the
right to refuse to handle unmarked or misidentified con-
Still, the bill allows for the protection of trade secrets.
Companies may withhold precise identification as long as
the chemical's basic toxicology is included so that health
professionals can find or resolve related problems.
Last year, the Senate adopted a bill which embraced the
federal standard while the House drew up legislation
similar to this year's bill. The major difference in the
House version is that it applies to all employees, and is not
limited to those in the manufacturing segment of industry.
As it is, inspection of occupational health problems is
difficult because there is a shortage of funds in this area.
r Inspectors follow up on complaints and often arrive at a
workplace only after a fatality or catastrophe occurs.
With the approval of the "Right to Know" law, em-
ployees have the power to make educated decisions, and
assert their right' to a safe working environment. In-
creased awareness at the worksite helps to prevent ac-
cidents without necessitating continual inspections.
Hopefully, the Senate will pass this progressive
legislation and extend the "Right to Know" to all em-
ployees who work with toxic and other hazardous
Letters to the Daily should be typed,
triple-spaced, and signed by the in-
dividual authors. Names will be withheld
only in unusual circumstances. Letters
may be edited for clarity, grammar, and


Ideals in CentralA merica

To the Daily:
I would like to make a few commen-
ts about Dean Baker's article "Lies in
Central America" that appeared on
your May 21 Opinion Page. I agree
with Baker to the extent of feeling
that the Reagan Administration has
no immediate interest in helping to
establish democracy in all Latin
American countries of either the
authoritarian or totalitarian ilk. I
believe that our government would
like ideally to have a completely
democratic Latin America as a
neighbor. But if faced with the choice
of allowing either some form of
democracy to develop in a Latin
American country of guaranteeing
that there would be no Russian or
Cuban influence in the area, any U.S.
government administration, I think,

would quash the fledgling democracy
in order to keep the region in question
free of powerful American foes. I ad-
mit that such political and military
power plays are morally repugnant,
but they are also often politically ex-
But I still cannot grant, though, that
the so-called indigenous democratic
agents in such countries as Nicaragua
are any less guilty of practicing real
politik than the freedom lovers of the
North and East. Baker lauds the
political processes that generated the
so-called democratically-elected
government of Nicaragua. I am
afraid, however, that in expressing
his praise of the Minaguan regime,
Baker, perhaps unwittingly, also
betrays the inconsistency of the real
politiker. For, truly, if Baker were to
measure Nicaragua's government by

ideal standards, he would discover a
majoritarian dictatorship, not a
democracy, in his darling. Undoub-
tedly, there were certain forces at
work during the last Nicaraguan elec-
tion that made it seem, to liberal
Americans at least, that the small
country in question had become a
republic. But actually, given the rigid
and thorough control of the economy
by the Nicaraguan state, and the
resistance of certain minority groups
(the Meskito Indians in particular) to
forced socialization, Nicaragua
emerges as democratic in name, but
fascist in fact. But, again, I am
measuring the Nicaraguan gover-
nment against ideal standards which,
as we all know, are hardly ever
replicated in real life.
-Bruce Poindexter
May 22

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