Blakeslee’s Bill on Contraband at Mental Hospitals is OK’d by State Legislature
The Legislature has passed a bill designed to strengthen safety at Atascadero State Hospital and other state mental hospitals. The bill will make providing contraband to patients a misdemeanor. The move will “help curb the violent confrontations that often occur over such items,” according to the bill’s author, Sen. Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo.
Could Farms Survive Without Illegal Labor?
A farmer in Maine who is raising crops sustainably told Times columnist Mark Bittman, “If the cost of food reflected the cost of production, that would change everything.” Instead, American produce is underpriced, in part because farmers and growers rely on illegal immigrant workers, who are paid little and often have poor working conditions. This reliance on immigrant workers has farmers lobbying against a bill that would require them to verify migrant workers’ status and employ only legal workers, saying such a mandate would cripple the industry.
Hershey Guest Worker Scandal Result of Lax Govt. Oversight: Immigration Expert
The J-1 program is increasingly being exploited by companies looking for sources of cheap labor. According to a report by Economic Policy Institute, in 2010 353,602 people enter the United State every year to work on the J-1 visa program. Workers routinely have wages for exorbitant rent taken away from them in schemes similar to the Hershey warehouse workers. Guestworkers are especially easy to exploit since if they speak up, they can be deported if companies withdraw their visa.
Companies Point Fingers as Students Protest Conditions at Chocolate Plant
A day after hundreds of foreign exchange students walked off their jobs at a plant packing Hershey’s chocolates to protest low pay and physically draining work, executives at the Hershey Company and three other companies involved in the plant scrambled to sort out which one was responsible for the conditions that prompted the students’ complaints. Among the four companies with a role in the huge plant where the foreign students were employed, each one pointed to another as being the primary manager in charge of monitoring the students’ work.
Bloomberg Discrimination-Suit Ruling Renews Work-Life Debate
A few pages from the end of a 64-page legal decision dismissing claims that Bloomberg L.P. had engaged in a pattern of discrimination against new mothers and mothers-to-be, Judge Loretta A. Preska set aside the legalese to offer some blunt remarks on a topic dear to the hearts of many working parents (and those who choose not to be). “The law does not mandate ‘work-life balance,’ ” she wrote, in a decision issued on Wednesday. “In a company like Bloomberg, which explicitly makes all-out dedication its expectation, making a decision that preferences family over work comes with consequences.”
Hijack Fears Prompt Push for Secondary Barriers on Planes
How long does it take to hijack a plane? Three seconds, says The Atlantic. That’s because pilots or flight attendants open the cockpit door to get to the lavatory, enabling any would-be terrorist to leap from his seat and barge into the cockpit in a matter of seconds. It’s a scenario the Federal Aviation Administration has been aware of for years and one that has prompted many in the airline industry to push for installation of secondary barriers between the cabin and the cockpit.
Struggle Hasn’t Changed for ‘The Help’ of Today
When The Help opened this week, hundreds of thousands of theatergoers were swept up by the story of domestic workers struggling for dignity and respect in Civil Rights-era Mississippi. Those viewers might be surprised to learn that across Chicago and America, modern domestic workers are living out that struggle today.
In Afghanistan, the U.S. military disposes of garbage–computers, motorbikes, TVs, shoes, even human feces–in open burn pits. Are toxic clouds from these sites making everyone sick?
Obama Admin Makes Smartphone App to Tell Outdoors Workers When it’s Hot Outside
President Barack Obama’s Department of Labor launched a new Smartphone app last week that tells outdoor workers when it’s hot and humid outside. The DOL’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s new “Heat Safety Tool,” designed for outdoor workers who are already outside, tells workers the temperature and humidity level of where they’re at. From that data, the app calculates the “heat index” and “risk level” for workers in the given location.
Yale Defends Procedures After Student Death
Yale University has defended its safety record after the US government’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) criticized the university’s safety procedures following the death of a student in April. A letter from OSHA area director, Robert Kowalski, to the university on 15 August accused it of several safety violations involving the high-speed metal lathe that killed physics student Michele Dufault. However, Yale spokesperson Tom Conroy has dismissed the charges, saying that the OSHA’s assessment contains “a number of significant inaccuracies”.