- Was General Motors reckless in its decision not to recall these vehicles of death sooner because it put profits over people's lives?
- Part 1: "A Culture of Timidity": Ralph Nader on How Regulators Ignored a GM Safety Defect Tied to 13 Deaths
- Part 2: General Motors Cover-ups Result in Motor Vehicle Deaths, and Workplace Abuses in Colombia
Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest
To stay on top of important articles like these, sign up here to receive the latest updates from all reader supported Evergreene Digest.
Part 1: "A Culture of Timidity": Ralph Nader on How Regulators Ignored a GM Safety Defect Tied to 13 Deaths
Nermeen Shaikh, Democracy Now!
Wednesday, March 12, 2014 | After hundreds of complaints and 13 deaths, the Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation into how the nation’s largest automaker, General Motors, may have covered up deadly safety defects in its compact cars. Six GM models made from 2003 to 2007 suddenly turned off while being driven — leaving drivers with no engine power, no power steering, no breaks and no air bags. For 11 years, GM reportedly treated the defect as a matter of customer satisfaction, not safety. Federal regulators also failed to take action, declining to investigate despite a flood of complaints. GM finally announced a massive recall of some 1.6 million vehicles last month. We speak with consumer advocate Ralph Nader, who is no stranger to GM. After writing "Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile," he won a major settlement against the auto giant for spying on him and trying to discredit him. Nader faults what he calls "a culture of timidity" in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "bred by the lack of backing by the Bush White House and, to some similar extent, by the Obama White House." He adds: "That of course leads to a reluctance to follow up on the evidence, to stand tall for the American motorist. That is not why we established the auto safety agency in 1966, so maybe this will help turn it around. Often it takes a tragedy like this to turn it around."
Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His latest book is The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future. Other recent books include The Seventeen Traditions: Lessons from an American Childhood, Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism: Build It Together to Win, and "Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us" (a novel).
Full story (audio and transcript)…
Part 2: General Motors Cover-ups Result in Motor Vehicle Deaths, and Workplace Abuses in Colombia
Colombian autoworkers take fight to the U.S.
Frank Hammer, Portside
March 28, 2014 | Media reports are exposing that GM was aware for over a decade of a design flaw in 1.6 million vehicles which led to upwards of 300 fatalities before announcing a recall of those vehicles. Though GM re-engineered the part in 2007, it didn't issue a recall until February, 2014. Meanwhile, complaints were piling up from drivers who suddenly lost engine power causing the power steering, brakes, and airbags to fail. 12 deaths have already been attributed to a faulty ignition switch. GM explained that it didn't recall the cars because drivers could still maneuver them manually and even turn the ignition back on!
How GM blew off the complaints, injuries, and deaths was no surprise to a group of ex-GM autoworkers from a Chevrolet assembly plant in Bogota, Colombia. They, too, were victims of GM's disregard for safety - not on the road - but in the workplace. Workers at their factory routinely suffered disabling injuries to their spines, shoulders and wrists from the intense work pace, 60-80 hour work weeks, the very physical nature of the work, and lack of workplace health and safety standards. This was particularly true for workers who operated bulky, heavy welding guns, or manually lifted car bodies, or carried transaxles on their backs.
Frank Hammer is a retired GM employee, a board member of the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights, and a former UAW-GM International Representative living in Detroit.