Thursday, May 06, 2010

Shameful Ironies

Originally posted at Main St/

Some economists are telling us what we already know. It's going to take a long time to bring back all the lost jobs.

“It could take four years, if not longer,” for the job market to recover the more than 8 million jobs lost since the recession started in December 2007, Feroli said.


Feroli estimates payrolls expanded by 145,000 jobs in April, with about 85,000 coming from private employers. Many of the government hires will be temporary workers for the census, he said. His estimate compares with a median increase of 189,000 in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

The new employment numbers will be out tomorrow. Of course, whatever the numbers show, the fact remains that along the Gulf Coast, a whole lot people are newly unemployed, thanks to the oil leak from the oil rig that exploded. It's resulted in a terrible irony - the fisherman who have lost their livelihood because of the spill are now being recruited to for BP, the company who is responsible for this disaster:

Rowdy Schouest, a shrimper out of Cypremort Point, Louisiana, says fishermen need to beware of the fine print on those contracts.

"BP, they hire your boat, pay you so much to help with oil cleanup, then when you collect that first check, you're gonna sign away all your rights to sue them," said Schouest. "[The fishermen] are hurtin' so bad for the money, but they're not realizing that little bit of money's gonna end, and then it's over with. They're gonna sign the paperwork even though they don't even know how to read it, then when they can't go fishing five or ten years from now, they're gonna realize, 'Whoa, we messed up.'"

As of Tuesday, more than 30 class-action suits had been filed against BP, Halliburton, Transocean, and others involved in the disaster set off by the April 5 oil rig explosion. According to Alabama Attorney General Troy King, BP has been circulating settlement agreements of up to $5000 as a preemptive measure.

That's mighty big of BP - offering a settlement agreement of $5000 for ruining someone's business.

It seems that those agreements have been removed:

Darren Beaudo, a spokesman for BP, said the waiver requirement had been stripped out, and that ones already signed would not be enforced.

"BP will not enforce any waivers that have been signed in connection with this activity," he wrote in an e-mail.

Even so, Alabama Attorney General Troy King is warning folks to proceed with caution:

But King said late Sunday that he was still concerned that people would lose their right to sue by accepting settlements from BP of up to $5,000, as envisioned by the claim process BP has set up.

The attorney general said he is prohibited from giving legal advice to private citizens, but added that "people need to proceed with caution and understand the ramifications before signing something like that."

Shameful. Truly shameful.

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