Prodded by a recent rash of tour bus accidents, the U.S. Transportation Department is slapping tougher safety requirements on commercial drivers. Federal regulators, working with state and local agencies, also pledge to step up surprise inspections of motorcoaches at popular travel destinations this spring and summer. Among the changes is a new rule requiring anyone applying for a commercial driver’s license to first obtain a learner’s permit. In addition, all state licensing agencies must now use tests that meet uniform national standards.
The National Restaurant Association yesterday sent information to its members about new U.S. Department of Labor regulations that significantly expand employers’ obligations to provide notice to employees about the tip credit. The DOL announced the final rule April 5, making substantive changes to federal regulations without the benefit of a notice-and-comment period to collect industry feedback.
As companies try to do more with less, employees are working more hours. While that overtime might be great for the pocketbook, it can be dangerous for public safety. It’s becoming common for some workers to put in 16 hours or more, then return the next day for the same grueling shift. They drag themselves to work and are less able to do their jobs safely, according to a panel of labor and corporate representatives in the transportation and petrochemical industries. They met Wednesday to discuss on-the-job fatigue issues at a luncheon sponsored by the Greater Houston Labor and Employment Relations Association.
Denver-based Chipotle Mexican Grill is once again facing close scrutiny from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). We told you about Chipotle earlier this year when the company fired 450 workers in Minnesota—more than one third of its workforce—after a probe by immigration authorities. This week, federal agents questioned employees at more than two dozen Chipotle restaurants in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Minnesota, and Washington, D.C., as part of a probe into the chain’s hiring practices in several states.
Never underestimate the power of a good public shaming. Western electronics firms were mortified in 2010 by reports of gruesome suicides of young workers in China working for the multinational tech giant Foxconn. Since the company runs a network of plants that churn out glistening gadgets for Apple, Dell and Hewlett Packard, the suicides scandalized tech brands that often market themselves as hip and progressive. This week watchdog groups have released a report to kickstart a global campaign to call attention to ongoing labor issues. The “Time to Bite Into a Fair Apple” campaign hopes to keep the pressure on both Chinese authorities and multinational firms to fulfill promises to make the manufacturing system more humane for hundreds of thousands of young Chinese workers.
The case is about El’Jai Devoureau, who was born a female, but identified himself as a man his whole life. In 2006, after he began taking male hormones and had a sex change operation, he adopted a new name, and received a new birth certificate from the State of Georgia which identifies him a male. The legal problem for Devoureau came up when he began working part time as a urine monitor at Urban Treatment Associates in Camden. On Devoureau’s second day, his boss confronted him stating that she had heard he was transgender. She asked if he had any surgeries. He refused to answer, stating that was private, and was fired.
A new study from the American Journal of Public Health reports that workers at nail salons may be at higher risk of exposure to chemical toxins that may be harmful to their health. One-third of workers reported that they experienced certain health symptoms such as irritations, headaches, nausea and breathing problems after entering the workforce. Irritations of the nose, throat, lungs, skin and eyes were the most common symptoms, reported by 26.5 percent of workers.
Texas Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis became Major League Baseball’s first player to exercise a new right under the parties’ collective bargaining agreement — the opportunity to take paternity leave in conjunction with the birth of his child. Under the terms of the CBA, MLB players now are allowed to take 24 to 72 hours off due to the birth of their children. (NBC Sports reported shortly afterward that another player, Washington Nationals’ shortstop Ian Desmond, also was preparing himself to take on the roll of “coach” at the side of his wife, who was about to give birth to their first child.)
Federal regulators Thursday said “serious” safety violations at the DuPont chemical plant in the Town of Tonawanda led to last November’s chemical explosion that killed a contractor working at the site. Following a six-month probe, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced it plans to fine DuPont and contractor Mollenberg-Betz nearly $117,000 for 17 violations stemming from the blast that killed Richard J. Folaron and badly burned a co-worker.
No sanctions are planned for the Oregon State Hospital after a patient attack that seriously injured a longtime hospital employee. The Statesman Journal reports the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division found no violations of workplace safety regulations during a review of the assault.