Years ago, I hired chemists and engineers for Monsanto. Back in the day, Monsanto was a different company and had a diverse portfolio that included hardcore chemicals products, food additives and pharmaceuticals. And it employed many different types of workers — from hippies to lobbyists to lawyers — who honestly dreamed of saving humanity and ending world hunger.
And Monsanto had a buffer zone because some “dirties hippies” were still mad about the Vietnam War.
Then I worked for Pfizer, which happened to be located near the United Nations and Consulate General of Israel. I had to make my way to work through anti-Semitic protestors who didn’t like the U.N. and didn’t like Israel. They weren’t allowed on U.N. property and flowed into a buffer zone on 42nd Street.
And there were times when Pfizer dealt with shareholder activists and people, such as Michael Moore, who wanted to educate Pfizer employees about its allegedly evil practices. Those protestors were not allowed to camp out in front the corporate headquarters. They were moved along.
(I wonder who sent him that memo?)
Most normal human beings support freedom of speech, but HR professionals know that buffer zones are important for business continuity and worker safety. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court unanimously knocked down buffer zones outside of abortion clinics in Massachusetts.
I don’t know how you feel about abortion, but the truth is that Roe v. Wade is settled law. And while the people who stand outside abortion clinics and heckle women and workers are covered by the freedom of speech provisions in the U.S. constitution, the women receiving medical treatment are also protected under the constitution.
As a human resources consultant, I ask myself: how do we keep workers and patients safe? With America’s goofy gun laws, those facilities are very dangerous. How do we assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance? Wouldn’t OSHA have something to say about a buffer zone?
And if America’s largest corporations are allowed to have a buffer zone, I don’t know why medical clinics can’t have buffer zones. It makes no sense to me.
So if anyone wants to start a collection to challenge the Supreme Court’s right to have a buffer zone, I would donate to that movement. I would also gladly stand on public property and protest outside of a Supreme Court justice’s home, too. Count me in for that. I’ll the make signs.
Let’s do this!