TVA’S link to 40 deaths and count­ing

The Commercial Appeal - - Viewpoint -

Can Ten­nessee work­ers keep up with au­to­ma­tion?

In re­sponse to the Viewpoint ar­ti­cle on 2-8-2019: Can Ten­nessee work­ers keep up with au­to­ma­tion in fac­to­ries?

Yes, Ten­nessee work­ers can and should keep up with au­to­ma­tion in fac­to­ries, with ad­e­quate train­ing for cit­i­zens of all ar­eas of the state, not just ru­ral ar­eas. It men­tions Gov. Bill Lee’s re­cent an­nounce­ment of his first leg­isla­tive pri­or­ity re­volved around tech­ni­cal and vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion as a sig­nif­i­cant step in mov­ing the nee­dle. His first ex­ec­u­tive or­der in­volved ac­cel­er­at­ing and in­creas­ing eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and op­por­tu­ni­ties in Ten­nessee’s ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties. It also states even Ten­nessee’s big­gest cities are in the bot­tom third when com­pared to 100 largest metro ar­eas.

Although the cities are at less risk than ru­ral ar­eas, to move the nee­dle for­ward, it seems im­per­a­tive to in­clude the big­gest cities that lag be­hind as a pri­or­ity. We should not lag this far be­hind at em­brac­ing growth and tech­nol­ogy. The ad­vance­ment of tech­nol­ogy did not sneak up on us. We watched and con­tin­ued to watch it un­fold with­out tak­ing ac­tions to pre­pare our work­force. This is a tremen­dous fail­ure of those we have trusted to leg­is­late. We must ac­knowl­edge that due to their fail­ure, whether it be their dis­in­ter­est in pri­or­i­tiz­ing fund­ing ed­u­ca­tion, or what­ever the case may be, this is a dis­ad­van­tage to all cit­i­zens of Ten­nessee, and ef­forts should be made sooner than later to cor­rect this ne­glected prob­lem in our state.

Hope­fully, our elected politi­cians will be­gin to see the light and work to­ward putting ac­tions in place to pre­pare Ten­nessee’s work­force as a whole, so that we can be­come more com­pet­i­tive as we at­tempt to at­tract com­pa­nies to our state.

Sharon Jones, Memphis

The ap­palling re­sults of TVA’S and Ja­cobs Engi­neer­ing’s so-called coal ash clean up at the Kingston Fos­sil Fuel Plant are that 40 in­no­cent work­ers have died and hun­dreds are poi­soned. The Feb 5. Com­mer­cial Ap­peal’s ar­ti­cle pro­vided a scathing re­port of com­plic­ity and a “trail of ev­i­dence” that in­di­cates a cal­lous dis­re­gard for work­ers’ safety. Hav­ing worked in safety-re­lated in­dus­try po­si­tions, I am aware of the vi­tal im­por­tance to have a thor­ough knowl­edge of pro­tect­ing people and our en­vi­ron­ment from haz­ardous sub­stance ex­po­sure. It is in­con­ceiv­able to as­sume these two be­he­moth or­ga­ni­za­tions did not have this aware­ness.

Un­til we hold all re­spon­si­ble par­ties ac­count­able, for this heinous lack of hu­man­ity, we should ex­pect more of the same. TVA is our “pub­lic util­ity” but does not pro­vide trans­parency to their closed-door de­ci­sion pro­cesses. This travesty makes one worry about cor­rupt, back room deals and pay­offs. Many thanks to Con­gress­men Tim Burchett and Steve Co­hen who are de­mand­ing an­swers to TVA Pres­i­dent Bill John­son (an­nual salary of $8 mil­lion). For the fam­i­lies, sur­vivors and ev­ery­one’s sake, I sin­cerely hope all guilty par­ties will be brought to jus­tice.

Vaughan De­war, Memphis

David Wa­ters will be missed

Wow! David Wa­ters says farewell. David reached out to the en­tire com­mu­nity and had opin­ion col­umns from all sides. He shall be missed.

Mark Stans­bury, Marks, Ten­nessee Email let­ters to let­[email protected]­mer­cialap­; mail Let­ters to the Ed­i­tor, The Com­mer­cial Ap­peal, 495 Union, Memphis, TN 38103; or click on the “Sub­mit Let­ter” link on the Opin­ion page at­com­mer­cialap­

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