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Killer Workplace

On June 15, 1994, a conference on workplace violence was held at Boeing's Renton campus near Seattle, WA. The topic was growing workplace violence, defined as workers striking out rather than companies maiming, poisoning, exploiting workers and the community. According to Dr. Kevin Flynn, a consultant to Fortune 500 companies, homicide is the No. 1 cause of death in work force for women and the No. 3 cause for men. He said it accounts for 12 percent of all work related deaths and 42 percent of female deaths on the job. In 1993, 110,000 incidents of workplace violence were reported in the US. An estimated 750 people were killed in the workplace, according to Flynn.

Six weeks later the Justice Department issued a report on this topic that differs from Flynn's numbers. On July 25, 1994, the Department of Justice's statitistics bureau issued its first ever report on "violence" in the workplace (not that done by employers of course). According to the report, almost 1 million violent crimes occur in the workplace each year. Ten percent of such crimes involve offenders armed with handguns. Based on national household surveys the report found that men are more likely to be the victims of violent crime at work and more likely to be attacked by a stranger. While women were as likely as men to victims of theft and more likely to be attacked by someone they knew while at work.

Flynn suggested the hiring of more internal police and greater "security" forces. It seems obvious that the "causes" of workplace violence by workers are due to increased exploitation (i. .e. increase of hours worked per year coupled with a decrease in pay), lack of job security caused by massive downsizing and shifting of jobs to third world countries, work speed ups, etc. No conferences are being held to discuss employers that kill their workers with toxic chemicals and unsafe workplaces, that dump hazardous wastes into communities, market unsafe products, and otherwise commit murder in a manner less dramatic than gunfire.

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