Tornado

Burning Morals At Both Ends


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There have been accusations that employees of a candle factory in Mayfield, Kentucky, and an Amazon Warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois were threatened with termination if they left work during a tornado. Other employees have disputed the accusations.

But in Mayfield, a class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the employees against Mayfield Consumer Products, where they make those candles.

One thing is clear. These companies put profits over their employees. At least eight people died in the candle factory and six died in the Amazon warehouse.

There were reports that Amazon warehouse supervisors threatened employees with termination and cell phones were not allowed on the floor. Those reports remain unfounded but some employees did have their phones on them and called their families during the tornado. One driver detailed that as he was arriving at the factory minutes before the tornado, he was directed to seek shelter in the building.

This isn’t the first time a tornado killed Amazon workers. Two employees died in a Maryland Amazon warehouse in 2018 from a tornado.

Amazon says their buildings are up to code, but since Amazon doesn’t own these warehouses, is it their responsibility, or does that belong to who they rent them from? I’d say both. There are no federal laws that warehouses must have tornado shelters, but maybe there should be in places like Kentucky and Illinois. Amazon did have a “shelter” location which was a bunch of bathrooms without windows. Maybe Amazon should have tried harder to provide safe areas after that 2018 Maryland tornado killed two of their workers.

In Illinois, one driver said he had an Amazon-provided phone on him at the time a warning came through on it…and the warning was in Spanish. The driver does not speak Spanish.

I don’t believe Amazon threatened their employees with termination if they left. But I do believe they don’t care all that much about their safety. The corporation has been accused throughout the pandemic of unsafe work environments and health protocols.

More than 100 people were working at the candle factory when the tornado hit, and according to Representative Jame Comer, production had been going 24/7 to meet Christmastime candle demands.

Candle factory worker Elijah Johnson said, “I’ve been making statements and every statement I’ve been making they denied it, and that’s just not right. They’re neglecting everyone that’s in there.”

Johnson is one of the workers claiming a supervisor threatened to fire him if he left.

“I said, ‘Man, you’re going to refuse to let us leave, even if the weather is this bad and the tornado’s not here yet?’ He was like, ‘If you want to decide to leave, if you want to leave, you can leave, but you’re going to be terminated. You’re going to be fired.'”

This wasn’t minutes before the tornado when these workers wanted to leave. They had three hours between warnings.

A company spokesperson said some people did leave that night and workers are free to come and go as they want. But McKayla Emery told CNN that she heard people ask a supervisor whether they could leave, and the supervisor “told them word for word: ‘If you sign out, you more than likely will get fired.'”

Factory employee Haley Conder told The Associated Press a supervisor threatened her with written disciplinary action if she went home early because storms were approaching.

Conder questions why the company did not encourage workers to go home, or at least give them a better understanding of the danger between a first tornado siren around 6 p.m. Friday and another one around 9 p.m., shortly before the tornado hit. See? Three hours.

Another worker said he never heard any of that, but he was also under 15 feet of rubble after the tornado tore the factory apart.

The lawsuit claims the factory had “up to three and half hours before the tornado hit its place of business to allow its employees to leave its worksite as safety precautions.” The factory showed “flagrant indifference to the rights” of the workers by refusing to do so. Don’t most corporations show “flagrant indifference” to the rights of workers?

The lawsuit also alleges serious violations of worker safety laws and a massive cover-up scheme to protect the interest of the candle factory. One of the attorneys representing the survivors called the factory “a modern-day sweatshop.” I’m sure we’re going to learn a lot more details as this lawsuit moves forward.

Even if the candle factory did not threaten employees or allow them to leave, these plaintiffs have a case. The factory did have three hours between tornado warnings. And keep in mind, these were tornado warnings in December when tornadoes typically don’t happen. That seems like something that should be taken seriously.

Of course, it’s not being taken seriously by Republicans who tell us climate change is not a thing despite melting polar ice caps, rising sea levels, and fucking tornadoes in December. In fact, my windows in Virginia are open right now. It’s warm.

Some of the workers at the Amazon warehouse were not employees but contractors, which means they can’t unionize. It’s like they’re professional wrestlers. In Kentucky, it’s a right-to-work state which really means it’s a right-to-fire state. A right-to-work state basically means employers can fire employees without any reason. In fact, it’s safer to fire someone without reason than it is to provide an explanation. The explanation might get the employer in legal trouble where firing without any explanation is that employer’s “right,” so long as he’s in the right state.

What is desperately needed for the safety of workers are unions. Unions care about worker safety while corporations do not. It’s why Republicans hate unions. We need unions to prevent corporations from placing profits before safety…before lives. Corporate America sees blue-collar workers as ants. They’re easily replaced.

If you’re in a union, you can’t be fired for fleeing from a tornado. Corporate America says, “Yes, you can. And what are you whining about anyway? Didn’t you see the bathroom we provided for you to hide in?”

Corporate America says, “Don’t forget to flush between hiding from the tornado and returning to the assembly line.”

You’re just a fucking ant to be stepped on and replaced later.

And if a tornado sweeps you from a candle factory or an Amazon warehouse and you land in Oz, stay there. The wicked witch is way more compassionate than corporate America.

Music note: I listened to Third Eye Blind’s first album while drawing this. I timed it perfectly as I turned on the music when I started crosshatching and started on the first song, “Losing a Whole Year” and finished coloring just as when the last song, “God of Wine,” was finishing. To be honest, I did skip “Jumper,” and everything between “Burning Man” and “London.” Ugh. Most of the album is fucking amazeballs.

Signed prints: The signed prints are just $40.00 each. Every cartoon on this site is available. You can pay through PayPal. If you don’t like PayPal, you can snail mail it to Clay Jones, P.O. Box 3721, Fredericksburg, VA 22402. I can mail the prints directly to you or if you’re purchasing as a gift, directly to the person you’re gifting.

Notes on my book, Tales From The Trumpster Fire: There are 18 copies of my book in stock, which go for $45.00 each, signed. Also, I have copies of my first book from 1997, Knee-Deep in Mississippi available for $20.00.

Tip Jar: if you want to support the cartoonist, please send a donation through PayPal to clayjonz@gmail.com. You can also snail it to P.O. Box 3721, Fredericksburg, VA 22402.

Watch me draw:

Grinchy Paul


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Fun fact: Rand Paul is a jerk.

When Kentucky Senator Rand Paul isn’t screaming lies and conspiracy theories at Dr. Anthony Fauci, he’s blocking disaster relief…at least to states that are not Kentucky. How much do you have to suck to be the most despised Senator from your state even when the other senator is Mitch McConnell?

Rand Paul likes to argue he’s consistent in denying disaster relief to places hit by hurricanes, places such as Puerto Rico, Louisiana, Florida, Texas, New Jersey, New York, California, etc, etc. But he’s not consistent as he’s demanding disaster relief for his Kentucky after it was hit by tornadoes earlier this week. Maybe he voted for this one because he’s afraid that if he didn’t, his neighbor would kick his ass again.

During debates over disaster relief (yes, they had to debate this) for Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico, Paul said, “People here will say they have great compassion and they want to help the people of Puerto Rico, the people of Texas, the people of Florida, but notice they have great compassion with someone else’s money. Ask them what they’re doing to help their fellow man.” Uh, by giving them disaster relief, you stupid fuck. That’s how they’re helping their fellow man…which is something they were elected to do. Rand Paul believes he was elected to be the nation’s number one asshole.

I suppose Rand Paul has finally found “great compassion with someone else’s money.” Rand Paul only wants to help Americans who are eligible to vote for him. If only there was a way we could single out who voted for who, so we give aid only to those who voted for the right candidate. Politicians, you serve every one of your constituents, even the ones who didn’t vote for you…or think you’re a dickless MAGAt lickspittle with your head up a giant orange ass.

The first relief package during the coronavirus pandemic passed in the Senate in March 2020 with only one senator voting against it. I’ll give you one guess who that Senator was (hint: He’s an asshole). Rand Paul also voted against aid for first responders who are still struggling with health problems from 9/11. How much federal medical insurance money do you think Rand Paul is going to demand for all the brain cells he burned out while his head was up Donald Trump’s ass?

Rand Paul claims he votes against federal assistance for people who aren’t eligible to vote for him because the money has to be borrowed. But where is the money coming from to provide disaster relief to Kentucky? Hell, where did the money come from to pay for Trump’s billionaire asshole tax cuts in 2017 that Rand Paul voted for? It didn’t come from inside Trump’s ass and Paul should know because that’s where his head’s been.

It’s not just Paul who’s a hypocrite here. In 2019, 43 of the 58 GOP House members who voted against a $19-billion disaster relief bill had earlier “demanded or endorsed emergency aid funding for their own states.” I apologize for using “asshole” for the hint to the previous question because there are a LOT of Republican assholes in Congress.

In 2013, a $50.5-billion relief package for Hurricane Sandy, which hit liberal Yankee states such as New Jersey and New York, was opposed by 39 Republicans in the Senate. Of those 39, 31 had demanded disaster aid for their own states. It’s kinda like when during the pandemic, Trump and his idiot son-in-law, one-half of Javanka, only wanted to help states that voted for Trump.

Here’s another fun fact: Of the states who receive the most federal aid than they kick into the federal government, Kentucky is in 6th place. For every dollar Kentucky sends to the federal government, they get back $2.25. The state’s dependency score is 54.5 percent according to Moneygeek. Out of the top ten states that are most dependent, eight of them are Republican states. They keep voting for politicians who are anti-government spending while they’re the fattest pigs at the trough. The most welfare-dependent states are Republican states. Weird how that works out.

Kentucky, don’t thank Rand Paul for the aid you’re receiving. Thank President Joe Biden. That’s who Mitch McConnell is thanking. He tweeted, “Thank you @POTUS for your rapid approval of Kentucky’s Major Disaster Declaration. I appreciate the Administration’s quick work to speed resources to help deal with this crisis.” You can also thank Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear who made the quick request.

If you’re in one of the eight states hit by these tornadoes, you can apply for disaster relief by clicking here. You can also call 1-800-621-FEMA. Hopefully, Rand Paul doesn’t answer the phone.

Music note: Today’s drawing music was the Beastie Boys.

Signed prints: The signed prints are just $40.00 each. Every cartoon on this site is available. You can pay through PayPal. If you don’t like PayPal, you can snail mail it to Clay Jones, P.O. Box 3721, Fredericksburg, VA 22402. I can mail the prints directly to you or if you’re purchasing as a gift, directly to the person you’re gifting.

Notes on my book, Tales From The Trumpster Fire: There are 18 copies of my book in stock, which go for $45.00 each, signed. Also, I have copies of my first book from 1997, Knee-Deep in Mississippi available for $20.00.

Tip Jar: if you want to support the cartoonist, please send a donation through PayPal to clayjonz@gmail.com. You can also snail it to P.O. Box 3721, Fredericksburg, VA 22402.

Watch me draw:

Texas Twister Containment


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I have four newspaper clients in Texas. I hope I still have four after this cartoon.

Texas is a place full of issues. It’s a fun place for their political cartoonists. Many Texas conservatives believed in a conspiracy that Obama was going to invade and annex the state, despite it already being a state. They had that biker shootout a few months ago. The “affluenza” kid is a case in Texas. To top it all off they have a Senator who’s against federal emergency aid for disasters, unless the aid is to go to Texas. Maybe Ted Cruz can use the new open carry gun law in Texas to fight future disasters.

On top of everything Texas is responsible for, I was born there.

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