Testing Food Service Employees: Policy Assessment Essay Example

Introduction

Mary Mallon, or Typhoid Mary as she was called, was a notorious healthy carrier of typhoid fever. She worked as a cook and was reputed to have caused infections of Typhoid fever in 47 people and caused the death of 3. What was worse was the she refused to admit that she was a carrier of the disease and continued to work in community kitchens in the US and fought efforts to quarantine her. Following the Mary Mallon incident, the health department adopted a policy that requires testing of all food handlers working in New York City for the presence of Typhoid bacteria (Leavitt, 1997). The paper evaluates the policy and assesses the manner in which the policy testing would be done.

Understanding the Policy

Kansas State University (August 29, 2007) has framed a policy that would cover food handlers and food dispensing system in cafeterias and other locations where food is sold. These policies would be listed as below, and then an analysis would be done.

  • The policy requires that the food dispending system made up of food handlers, food preparation and the environment in which food is stored and dispensed should be strictly monitored. Only trained and approved personnel should be employed in this service and food should be prepared in approved kitchens.
  • Written permissions and clearances are required by the agencies involved in food preparation and clearance of personnel engaged in the preparation, from the sanitation and food inspection departments.
  • Items such as hamburgers, pastries with cream, custards, sandwiches, salads with meat or poultry products, gravy or fish are considered as hazardous. Items such as tea, coffee, commercially pre-packaged food items, hot dogs, cookies, and other such items are regarded as non hazardous.
  • All food handlers who are exposed to open food items, either in the raw stage or in the cooked stage have to be examined periodically for communicable diseases.
  • Health details of each food handler has to be maintained, and details of any illness or sickness should be entered in a form. If any member is found to have any sickness, then the person should undergo treatment and should be allowed to work again only after obtaining a fitness certificate.

Evaluating the Policy

An evaluation of the above policy is done as given below (Social Research Methods, 20 Oct 2006).

  1. Verify, define, and detail the problem: The problem is related to keeping out food handlers who are infected from handling food. The problem is about the possibility of infected food handlers contaminating food that would be eaten by other people, and there is a chance that healthy people may develop infections.
  2. Establish evaluation criteria: Evaluation criteria refers to finding out the health history of food handlers and finding out if they have suffered from any infectious diseases.
  3. Identify alternative policies: Alternate policies include the UWO policy for food handlers (UWO, 2004). This policy is drafted “to ensure that all University employees working in food preparation areas are regularly monitored for communicable diseases and/or infections as required by applicable legislation
  4. Evaluate alternative policies: The policy is much more robust and specific in terms of specifying different illness to be tested, method and frequency of testing.
  5. Display and distinguish among alternative policies: The first policy gave emphasis also on the nature of food preparation, how it was packed, the environment in which it cooked, and the manner in which it was transported. The second policy relates only to food handlers and communicable diseases and how to detect them in food handlers.
  6. 6. Monitoring the implemented policy: After the policy is implemented, a list of vendors and their employees who handle should be prepared. The short listed employees should then be made to undergo various tests of sputum, blood, stool, and other types of pathology exams.

Comparison of the Two policies

The policy set by Kansas State University (August 29, 2007) refers more to improving the whole system of food manufacturing, storage and handling system. It covers areas such as the hygiene of the food manufacturing place and of the cafeteria where the food is served, the manner in which food is stored and transported, and also the manner in which food handlers are to be tested for communicable diseases. The policy gives broad outlines and does not go into specifics. The policy by UWO (2004) is more specific about the kind of tests that food handlers have to undergo, listing of test types such as stool, sputum, blood and other tests. These tests are designed to find the extent to which a person is suffering from communicable diseases.

References

Kansas State University. (2007). .030 Food Dispensing Policy.

Leavitt. Judith. Walzer. (1996). The Most Dangerous Woman In America: Typhoid Mary: Villain or Victim?

PPA 670. (2008). The policy analysis process.

Social Research Methods (2006). Steps for a Successful Policy Analysis.

UWO, 20 (2004). UWO Food Service Employees Health Screening Policy. Web.

The Great Railroad Strike Of 1877

Introduction

The Age of Industrialization brought prosperity, modernity, technology as well as new threats are never seen before. The new technology, as well as new ways of creating products and services, created problems in various industries that are difficult to anticipate and, worse, extremely hard to solve. One of the major byproducts of the Age of Industrialization was the railroads and the locomotives that run through them. In the latter part of the 19th century, the railroad systems in the United States of America became a major component in the nation’s bid to become a global superpower. The railroads move men, products, and raw materials and, needless to say, became a very important part of nation-building. Thus, in the great railroad strike of 1877, the United States government did everything in its power to restore order, even if it meant using violence to break up the strike and force the workers to return back to work.

Depression in the 19th Century

There was an economic depression that gripped the country beginning in the decade of 1870 and became very obvious in 1873.1 Four years later, the economic conditions grew worse, and by 1877, “…roughly 3 million people were unemployed … Those who were able to keep a job worked six months a year, and their wages were cut by about 45 percent.”2 It can be argued that while factories and railways created an economic boom – by allowing the mass production of cheap products and selling them even cheaper via a cost-efficient railroad system – these things also created the reverse, which is an economic glut. Overproduction is the result of errors in predicting supply and demand as well as overexpansion.

Thus, in a time of economic growth, large-scale employers hired thousands of workers and then faced the problem of overexpansion when the demand begins to slow down. The inevitable will come to pass, which is unemployment and wage cuts. According to Howard Zinn, the Depression of 1877 created unbearable pain and suffering, “That summer, in the hot cities were poor families lived in cellars and drank infested water; the children became sick in large numbers.”3 The inability to find work resulted in the creation of poor communities where poverty did not only bring hunger but sickness and death.

The Workers Slighted

It is one thing to experience hardships at home and another to be slighted at work. By reducing their earning capabilities and forcing railroad workers to toil in unsafe working environments, these laborers were forced to contemplate staging a strike. Zinn traced the development of the great railroad strike through the following chronology of events: “It all began with wage cuts on the railway after railway, intense situations of already low wages ($1.75 a day for brakemen working twelve hours), scheming and profiteering by the rail companies, deaths, and injuries among the workers – loss of hands, feet, fingers, the crushing of men between cars.”4 There is a widespread belief that the employers were making a ton of money while the workers had to endure slave-like conditions.

The workers could no longer bear the humiliation they faced at home and at work. There was little incentive to go on. If they work, they face the possibility of death or permanent injury, and if they survive another day, they could not afford to feed their families. In their calculation, they will die sooner or later. So on July 16, 1887, when railroad workers in Martinsburg, West Virginia, “…walked off the job to protest a 10 percent wage cut leveled by their employer, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad,” these men changed the course of history.5 This action started a chain-reaction of events, and strikes began to erupt in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Cincinnati, and Chicago.6

As a result, the strike “…erupted into one of the largest civil disturbances in American history, and it quickly overwhelmed local law enforcement officials.”7 One has to understand that the railroad systems in the 19th century can be compared to the airline industry or the telecom industry of the 21st century, meaning it is very vital to the economy. Moreover, the railroad system was linked to factories and other wage workers all over the country. It was impossible to stage a strike in Virginia without the rest of the country becoming aware of such an event.

For the Sake of Order

Crippling the railroads will definitely affect trade and industry in 19th century America, but the railroad workers created something more – they inspired wage workers outside their industry to participate and empathize with them and thus creating a bigger problem for the government. In Chicago, “In addition to walkouts and protests by railroad workers, sympathetic actions by other wage workers brought the city to a state of a general strike.”8 The economic depression experienced by railroad workers in Virginia or Philadelphia was not limited to the said industry. It was felt by every wage worker who had to fight for their rights. When wage earners from lumber mills, canning industries, etc., joined protesters from the railroad companies, they created a national problem that required the participation of the Federal government.

The initial reaction of the railroad companies and U.S. government officials was to use the militia to restore order, but they soon found out that the proposed solution would not be enough to turn the tide. Governors of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and West Virginia called up their state militias and discovered very quickly that their militias lacked adjutant generals, professional training programs, contingency plans for deployment, and most importantly, appropriate firearms that can be used to subdue the strikers.9 Furthermore, members of the militia were familiar with the strikers. These militiamen also identified with the wage workers, and it was difficult for them to use all means necessary to break up the strike.

Socialism and Communism

It can be argued that the government’s crackdown on the strikers was not only brought about by the need to re-establish order and commerce but also to prevent socialists or communists from gaining anything significant out of the strikes. This view was strengthened by reports that socialists saw a major opportunity to spread their message about the evils of capitalism.10 The U.S. government feared that this blatant display of weakness would be used by socialists to fan the flames of revolution and bring the whole country to anarchy. The riots that ensued after major cities joined in the strikes forced the local government to consider other means of breaking the strike.

It is easy to understand why supporters of socialism and communism saw the upheaval as a great opportunity to finally rally Americans – at least the wage earners – to establish a strong communist party that will transform the United States into a nation where the power of the masses will create a more egalitarian society. The increasing polarization of two emerging industrial classes in the latter part of the 1900s: large scale employers and allied property owners on the one hand and a new immigrant, industrial working class on the other was a major problem for a government that vowed to be ruled by the people and of the people.11 The U.S. government officials had to act strong and fast before the situation become uncontrollable and spread to the rest of the country.

In the Aftermath of the Strike

The failure of state militias to end the siege instigated by railroad workers prompted no less than U.S. President Hayes to dispatch U.S. regular army troops, and thus the introduction of the army finally broke the strike.12 Members of the regular army were more disciplined and more prepared than the state militia. Furthermore, these soldiers were not familiar with the workers who are on strike, and therefore they can carry out orders without hesitation. Thus, the great railroad strike of 1877 was finally crushed with the help of the Federal government.

But the strikes created concessions for the workers. Some of the wage cuts were withdrawn, but at the same time, railroad companies were made aware of their weaknesses and strengthened their policing capabilities. But in the long run the strikes, “…taught many people of the hardships of others, and they led to congressional railroad regulation…” and encouraged unionism among workers.13 Still, there are those who claim that the strike was not worth the sacrifice of 100 dead people and 1,000 others thrown to jail.14 This means that at the beginning of the strike, there were 1,100 people who can barely provide for their families, and at the end of the strike, there were 1,100 people who could not provide for their families, for they are either in prison or six feet below the ground.

Conclusion

At first, it was easy to side with the wage workers. They had to go on strike to force employers to acknowledge that they too had rights and that businessmen had no right to play with their lives. But on the other hand, it must also be pointed out that railroad companies were significantly affected by the economic depression that gripped the country in the 1870s. This means that when these businessmen started hiring workers, they anticipated an economic boom that would create unprecedented demands for their products. But in a time of recession, all these projections must be scaled down, and unfortunately, the number of workers must also be reduced in order to adjust to a new economic reality.

The ensuing violence that resulted in deaths and jail time for many strikers made it clear that strikes and riots are not the only means to communicate workers’ grievances. These radical steps may permanently curtail the earning capability of jailed or dead wage earners. The great strike of 1877 should teach everyone a lesson. The employers must prepare for economic hardships and must not be ruled by greed and not commit to an expansion program that they could not sustain. For the workers, the best that they can do is to organize, establish unions and other organizations where their unity and cooperation can be their strength, instead of resorting to unpredictable and uncontrollable strikes as well as instigating riots that may cost them their lives and their means of livelihood.

References

Lambert, J. Bartlett. (2005). If the Workers Took a Notion: The Right to Strike and American Political Development. New York: Cornell University Press.

Sawislak, Karen. (2005). “Railroad Strike of 1877.”

Scheirov, Richard. (2008). Chicago’s Great Upheaval of 1877: Class Polarization and Democratic Politics. In D. O. Stowell (Ed.). The Great Strikes of 1877. Illinois: University of Illinois Press.

University of California, Santa Cruz. (2009). “The Great Railroad Strike of 1877.” Web.

Zinn, Howard. (2006).“1877: The Great Railroad Strike.”

Footnotes

  1. University of California, Santa Cruz. (2009). “The Great Railroad Strike of 1877.” Web.
  2. University of California, Santa Cruz. Par. 1.
  3. Howard Zinn. (2006).”1877: The Great Railroad Strike.” Web.
  4. Zinn, par. 5.
  5. Karen Sawislak. (2005). “Railroad Strike of 1877.” Web.
  6. Sawislak, par. 2.
  7. J. Bartlett Lambert. (2005). If the Workers Took a Notion: The Right to Strike and American Political Development. (New York: Cornell University Press), p. 53.
  8. Sawislak, par. 3.
  9. Lambert, p. 53.
  10. Sawislak, par. 3.
  11. Richard Scheirov. (2008). Chicago’s Great Upheaval of 1877: Class Polarization and Democratic Politics. In D. O. Stowell (Ed.). The Great Strikes of 1877. Illinois: University of Illinois.
  12. Lambert, p. 54.
  13. Zinn, par. 35.
  14. Zinn, par. 36.

American Public Attitudes To Overseas Military Deployment

In modern times, the media, which is popularly referred to as the fourth estate, has witnessed unrivaled growth. Not even a single event can now take place without the media coming in and airing it to the world. All sectors of the media have benefitted from the media boom, which has been largely based on the protections devised under special legislation called press freedom. Newspapers, journals, magazines, the internet, television, and radio are some of the major media outlets that are responsible for the dissemination of information to the public. The military campaigns that the United States has participated in during the post-World War Two era have had to deal with this increased media attention (Marshall 2010, p.1). The most recent military engagement, the Iraq war of 2003, witnessed more media attention than any other military conflict. As much as the controversial nature of the war may have led to this attention, the expanded media space also had a part to play. This essay will discuss the role of the increased media coverage in the shaping of the attitudes of Americans towards military activity abroad as well as the impact of media coverage of military activity on military conduct.

To start with, the increased coverage of military activity by the media has led to the development of a negative attitude towards military activity among the people. The fact that the media has been able to go to the battlefield and cover the graphic scenes of wounded or dead American soldiers has made most Americans view the military activity as a source of suffering for their men and women in uniform (Marshall 2010, p.1). This is especially true when the military activity is based on something that they do not consider to be serious. For example, the invasion of Iraq is still a contentious issue, given that the people who attacked the United States in 2001 were in Afghanistan and not Iraq. Thus when the people see their sons, daughters, fathers, and mothers get killed or wounded for unclear reasons, they detest military activity. This would be a different case if media coverage was reduced, given that they would not have a chance of witnessing all these sad occurrences on the battlefield.

Secondly, the increased media coverage has led to a situation where the public has adopted the attitude that they have to be convinced that any military activity that the country engages in abroad is worth the enormous sacrifices their men and women make. This stems from the witnessing of the tragic events taking place in military campaigns and the subsequent thinking that people should only suffer when the life of the nation is at stake. What about the impact of increased media coverage on military conduct?

Members of the armed forces are now more disciplined on the battlefield as a result of the intense media coverage. The time when the men and women in uniform would mistreat unarmed civilians in other countries and escape unnoticed is long gone. The presence of the media ensures that all that the military personnel is doing is reported, and if it is inappropriate, it is rebuked. Therefore the men and women in uniform have no option other than maintaining the highest standards of discipline while at war (Marshall 2010, p.1).

In conclusion, the increased media coverage of military activity abroad has led to the development of a negative attitude towards war by most Americans and their desire to be convinced that the reason for going to war is worth the sacrifices made by the men and women in uniform. The men and women in uniform on their part have been forced to maintain the highest level of discipline as a result of the increased media attention.

Reference

Marshall, J., (2010). Media on the Battlefield. Web.

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