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people like me go down to explain the W.I.S.P. program: ‘the company’s here to take care of you, you don’t need no damn attorney.’ You just talk them into signing it. If you don’t sign, you’re going to go home.” Once the waiver is signed, “You are basically at the mercy of the company.” Workers must choose from a list of company-approved doctors; Klumpe says he would typically show the worker the list, point to the company favorite, and suggest that one: “You tell them, ‘Most people go to this person.’ …Most of ’em, you can get to do it.” Under the terms of the W.I.S.P. program, the worker must waive all doctor-patient privileges. Once the injured worker is treated, he is put on light duty; supervisors keep track of light-duty days. Every Monday, they meet to “go over the sick, lame, and lazy list, as they call it…. I guess that’s more of a more of a butt-kicking of who’s on light duty and who isn’t.” And once workers have been on light duty for over forty-five days, “they’re really being watched, you go with ’em to the doctor.” Klumpe can recall sitting in on management meetings in which plant case managers were told, “You’ll get this doctor in line, or we’ll cut him off.'” The conversion of Steve Klumpe occurred a little more than a year ago, one spring afternoon, just as he had returned to his office following a visit to the pens where the cattle were kept just before slaughter. A woman came into his office, yelling that someone had just cut off his hand. Klumpe ran out of his office, through the double doors to the kill floor, and saw his stepson, Chris Escamilla, wandering in a daze toward the cafeteria. Blood was pouring out from where his fingers had been. A lone maintenance man was trying to assist him. Klumpe carried Escamilla to the nurses’ station and helped put on a tourniquet. It was necessary to keep Escamilla conscious enough to speak to the doctors, and so he was given only light medication. He was half-deranged with pain, and afraid that he would die as had an IBP worker had the previous year, from loss of blood. \(In 1996, a worker stabbed himself in an artery while trying to jab his knife back into a hip For twenty-five minutes, Klumpe lay on top of his screaming stepson to hold him down. At last the helicopter came, and Chris Escamilla was flown to University Medical Center in Lubbock. Surgeons there were able to reattach the fingers, but they do not bend properly. Before his injury Escamilla, a talented graphic artist, had devoted all his spare time to drawing, and had hoped one day to work as an animator. /n the case of serious accidents such as Escamilla’s, workers are not asked to sign a waiver before leaving the plant. Instead, it is medical case manager Terry Zimmerman’s job to get the waiver signed as soon as possible. Often this means a trip to the hospital, where Zimmerman presents the form to the injured worker. Klumpe recalls at least one management meeting when Zimmerman, just back from such a trip, produced the signed waiver and held it over his head as the other managers cheered. Immediately after Escamilla’s injury, Zimmerman traveled to Lubbock. Saturday evening, while the doctors were still operating, Zimmerman booked a motel room down the hall from where Steve Klumpe, Sue Klumpe, and Escamilla’s wife Shylah Vogt were staying, and informed Steve Klumpe that he needed the waiver signed by Tuesday Wednesday at the latest or the bills wouldn’t be paid. Once Escamilla was out of surgery, Klumpe, aware that Zimmerman was not one to stop at polite suggestion, instructed the nurses in the intensive care unit not to allow Chris any visitors other than family members. “And Terry was trying to sneak in to get the waiver signed. I mean, it’s good to do that when they’re all drugged up, because they don’t know what they’re doing,” Klumpe explained in deposition. “But once you sign the waiver, I mean, it’s just curtains. And then finally, we had … a motel where we were all staying…. We were on one side… and he was on the other side one level up. And, of course, he was sitting there spying on you, ducking in and out and shit.” On Monday at 9 a.m., Zimmerman was waiting outside the I.C.U., though when he saw Escamilla’s family he excused himself. “Then as soon as we left, he tried to go in, but the nurses wouldn’t let him,” Klumpe says. Finally, Klumpe called [plant manager] Kurt Suther: “I told Kurt to get him the hell out of Lubbock because I was going to beat his ass in the ground, because he was just blood-hounding. But, I mean, that’s normal.” Escamilla never signed a waiver. Other injured workers have not been so well guarded. Lonita Leal had been working for IBP for twenty-one years when, early one morning, she was performing a quality-con trol check of a machine that blends up hamburger meat. A piece of fat had lodged itself on the blender door; unbe knownst to her, the seal on the door was missing. When she tried to pick up the piece of fat with her right hand, the door opened. “It caught my hand and pulled it inside the blender,” she said. “It took off all of my middle finger, and a quarter of my index finger, and my hand got chopped up pretty bad.” Leal remembers what happened next only vaguely: an ambu 7 lance was called, and she was given Demerol. She has no recollection of what happened at the hospital. But according to her husband and the signed waiver in IBP’ s possession Zimmerman showed up while she was still waiting to have surgery. He got her she was heavily drugged. She has no memory of signing it. \(Concerned about losing her pension, she accepted settlement from IBP and retired at forty-three, but she later went to Glasheen and has Another employee, Duane Mullin, had both his hands crushed in a hammer mill. Zimmerman arrived at the hospital immediately after Mullin himself did, waiver in hand. Mullin, who had not been given pain medication because he was in shock, was beginning to lose consciouness. He protested he couldn’t possibly sign a waiver. Zimmerman suggested he sign with a pen in his mouth. At that point Mullin was given pain medication, and about fifteen minutes later he tried to prove to Zimmerman that he couldn’t sign with a pen in his mouth. He held the pen between his lips as Zimmerman put the waiver on a 12 THE TEXAS OBSERVER MAY 22, 1998