It might sound funny to most, but you may soon start seeing a phenomena that we have not seen in a long time around corporate America; that being the re-birth of the whistleblower! Ayah, the whistleblower. Defined as the person, generally an insider, who steps forward and alerts us as to what is really going on in a company that executives don’t want you to know. What really happens on the late shift, when production is more important than say, worker safety?
Over the last few years some have stepped forward, such as Lynn Brewer who blew the whistle on Enron. As well as Cynthia Cooper a former World Com employee who pointed out how the company hid profits through phony auditing and of course Jeffery Wigand who exposed the tobacco industries chemical alteration of nicotine to make it stronger. Needless to say all found employment elsewhere after their disclosures.
You haven’t heard too much from these folks as of late. Mainly because the present administration considers its clients the companies, not the clientele they serve. Inspectors and regulators instead of being watchdogs for the last eight years have adopted a, “Hey lets work with em’ instead of trying to shut them down.” A friendlier inspector who has almost becomes an extra employee of the business they are regulating rather than one who is looked at as someone to be feared. We can look at meat, lettuce and toy recalls in the last year to see how poorly this approach has been working.
But being whistleblowers, is risky business. The Peach bottom nuclear plant guard that taped his buddies sleeping got fired. And many others have been let go as well. Now you might say there are laws to protect people whose only crime is to alert the public to keep them safe. And you would be right, but companies find ways of getting rid of trouble makers, especially if they feel the mood in Washington is more of support for them than the whistleblower, but change is in the air!
It is the main reason a lot of airplanes have been sitting on the ground as of late. It seems the FAA has suddenly decided that the airlines are what they are to be regulating not making sure they turn a good profit year by looking the other way.
The candidate’s messages of change seem to be resonating in Washington as with the voters. I particularly like the ad now running for Barrack Obama where he points out how Medicare is prohibited form getting bids for drugs and finding the lowest prices. The man on the committee that made sure that was part of the law, left Washington and now works for the drug industry at two million a year. Assured that if he is elected this will not happen under his administration, gives one hope. It is hard not to be cynical and not dismiss this all as campaign rhetoric but change has been a long time coming and as the old song goes hopefully, “it will be a long time gone!”