West Virginia Worker Loses Her Job After Helping Co-Worker Who Lost His Thumb

Labor News

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Reprinted from The Washington Post by Ben Guarino on January 6, 2017.

One early Monday morning in July 2014, a band saw blade at a West Virginia beef jerky plant lopped off a man’s thumb. Upon hearing a cry of pain, and witnessing the blood that ran down her co-worker’s hand and arm, a food processing employee named Michele Butler-Savage rushed to help. Butler-Savage attempted to staunch the wound with paper towels and cold water. Using her cellphone, she began to dial for emergency medical aid.

The call to 911 did not go through. According to a lawsuit filed by the Labor Department on Thursday, Butler-Savage’s boss, John Bachman, ordered her to hang up the phone. Bachman collected the thumb, which moments before had been part of a man named Chris Crane, and told the shift supervisor to drive Crane to an emergency care clinic. The emergency room transferred Crane to a hospital, where surgeons were unable to reattach the digit.

At the scene of the accident, where, per the lawsuit, “Crane’s blood had spurted all over the floor and wall,” Butler-Savage alleged that Bachman did little in the way of cleaning afterward. She contacted a USDA inspector, explaining her sanitation concerns and that her boss denied her call to an ambulance.

More than an appendage would be lost in the accident. Two days later, Butler-Savage was fired from her five-month-old job at Lone Star Western Beef. …

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About Jeffrey Burman 2367 Articles
Jeff Burman represents assistant editors on the Guild’s Board of Directors. He can be reached at jeffrey.s.burman.57@gmail.com.

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