Thanks to an aggressive, citizen-led social distancing movement, the Coronavirus – so far – hasn’t hit Oklahoma as hard as most models predicted.
As a result, the people in our society who value corporate profits over human life are now itching at the horizontal drill bit to turn social distancing on its head, and get their human capital back to work.
Naturally, this includes OKC-based Continental Resources. CEO Bill Berry, along with Founder / Chairman Harold Hamm, recently announced via YouTube that, starting this week, most employees at their OKC downtown headquarters will be expected to report back to the office, so they can work with better productivity and “synergy,” save the economy and, apparently, more easily spread a vicious, deadly virus that is still stalking humanity.
The announcement was made via a virtual “town hall” that, unlike most town halls, didn’t include any questions or discussions from the people / employees who were watching. Check it out:
Okay, so that’s a long video. The tl;dw is Continental wants 50% of their employees to return to work this week. These employees will be tested for Covid-19 and have the opportunity to get an antibody test. Employees who are sick, live with someone who has a high-risk job (doctor, nurse, Walmart cashier) or can’t find childcare are excused, for now, but need to talk with their supervisor.
If they don’t, they may get a letter like this very soon:
For some people out there, like Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt or Donald Trump or a loyal OANN viewer, Continental’s plan may seem fair and reasonable, but for others, including many Continental Resources employees, it feels rushed and haphazard.
First of all, although the models seem to be trending better for Oklahoma, the Coronavirus is still out there, still contagious and still deadly. Spending your time in an office environment, even one that’s filled at only 50% capacity, can’t be good for an employee’s anxiety, health or morale.
Second, Harold Hamm is right-wing oil overlord who happily denies the science behind global warming to make a buck, so we should probably expect him to do the same when it comes to a global pandemic. Also, as an Ogle Mole who works at Continental pointed out to us, he’s part of Donald Trump’s taskforce to reopen America.
Harold Hamm and President Trump have known ties even outside of the task force to reopen the economy. But CLR’s decision to ask workers to return to the office even though working remotely has been successful and productive given feedback from leadership suggests a bit of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”. Trump gets to cite that large companies and their employees are enthusiastically returning to work and wanting to get back to normal life. In turn CLR and the oil and gas industry can perhaps expect support in the form of subsidies and policies favoring the industry.
In all fairness, and regardless of the president, I think the oil and gas industry can always expect support in the form of subsidies and policies favoring the industry. It’s American Politics 101.
Anyway, we wish all Continental Resources employees who are returning to work this week the best of luck. It sucks that you work for a company that values profits and money more than your health and well-being, but that’s the hand you were dealt. Do your best to stay safe, or better yet, fake a dry cough, say you live with a nurse, and can’t find childcare. Then, while working for home, desperately search for a new a job with a company that values your life.