Congress gets ‘D’ from oil-spill panel for safety inaction
In the two years since a BP Plc (BP/) well blowout set off the worst U.S. offshore oil spill, Congress has failed to make drillers more accountable, according to members of the panel that studied the disaster. Lawmakers earned a “D” from members of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill for not enacting safe-drilling legislation, according to a report yesterday.
Injunction blocks new NLRB rule requiring bosses to post organizing rights
Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued an emergency injunction blocking implementation of new National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rules that would require employers to post notices of workers’ legal rights to organize. The rules, In These Times reported on in detail here, would have gone into effect on April 30.
At least 30 countries have unemployment benefits more generous than the U.S.
According to data from the International Monetary Fund analyzed by Tim Vlandas, there are at least 30 countries with unemployment benefits that are more generous than those that go to American workers.
Women’s bureau: Fighting for equal pay, every day
Today, as we commemorate Equal Pay Day it is a time to reflect on how far American women have come. Coincidentally, it is also tax day and a fitting reminder of how long into 2012 women must work to earn the wages men earned in 2011. Since the creation of Equal Pay Day 16 years ago, the pay gap between women and men has barely moved — from 74 cents in 1996 to about 80 cents in 2011.
After problems plague Hawaii State Labor Agency, feds may take over workplace investigations
The federal government, in two reports issued in 2009 and 2010, noted that Hawaii’s Occupational Safety and Health Division is understaffed, untrained, underfunded and not keeping up with inspections – and apparently not much has improved since then. That has led the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Division to discuss “concurrent jurisdiction” with the state this year, which means the federal agency may take over many of the state functions. However, both the state and federal government officials involved are refusing to release details about the plan.
Off the clock: Employees fighting for overtime pay
Everyone from pharmaceutical reps to home health care aides to waiters and waitresses in fancy restaurants are sick of working off the clock, and they’re looking to finally punch in. This week, the Supreme Court is reviewing a case involving pharmaceutical representatives who claim they’re owed overtime pay even though their employer, GlaxoSmithKline, contends they’re sales people and not entitled to it.
Breathing devices fail test, but not ordered out of mines
Federal coal mine regulators have concluded that a widely used emergency breathing device doesn’t meet safety standards but have not yet taken any action to get the equipment out of the nation’s mines. This week, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health issued a long-awaited report on its investigation of problems with CSE Corp.’s SR-100 model self-contained self-rescuer, or SCSR.