Not too long ago, there were a number of disasters in Bangladesh: fires, a building collapsed, and such. Many hard-working people died. And the fashion companies who paid subcontractors to operate these filthy, unsafe sweatshops at first denied any responsibility, saying “they weren’t our employees”.

Technically, that was true. However, it became obvious to everyone else involved that the victims were entitled to some basic measure of decency and human rights, and so the fashion industry backed off and did what was right: safety standards and the like. Today, things are slightly better for Bangladesh garment workers. Yay.

You wouldn’t think you’d hear the same “they aren’t our employees” lies from a major American health provider, would you? We just did. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center , in its relentless pursuit of money (at the expense of patient care) has decreed that certain employees are not employees, but contractors: and so not entitled to decent pay, working conditions, and so on.

The difference? Only of degree. The UPMC is a sweatshop just as much as those hell-holes in third-world countries. True, no UPMC buildings are likely to burn down, but the workers there who toil to serve the rest of us are being screwed by a load of rich motherf***ers who care only for wealth and give not one tiny gnat turd about the “contractors” they exploit.

The line between the USA and the third world is getting thinner by the day.
Mr. Blunt and Cranky