Let’s honor workers who lost lives on the job
On Saturday, people across the globe will commemorate International Workers’ Memorial Day. Families across the U.S. will be remembering loved ones who have died as a result of a fatal job-related injuries and diseases. Sadly, our house will join in this emotional observance. My father, Ray Gonzalez, 54, died on Nov. 12, 2004, after suffering severe injuries and burns while working at the BP Texas City refinery.
A punishment BP can’t pay off
Two years after a series of gambles and ill-advised decisions on a BP drilling project led to the largest accidental oil spill in United States history and the death of 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, no one has been held accountable. What is missing is the accountability that comes from real consequences: a criminal prosecution that holds responsible the individuals who gambled with the lives of BP’s contractors and the ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico.
Kentucky Darby mine operators have yet to pay for 2006 blast that killed 5
Nearly six years after an explosion killed five miners at Kentucky Darby Mine No. 1 in Harlan County, the operators have not paid nearly $700k in civil fines and interest fees for safety violations connected to the accident. Kentucky Darby admitted liability for the unpaid fines under an agreement finalized in January 2010 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky in London, according to court documents.
New York named national leader in fight against wage theft
One year after New York’s new wage theft law took effect, the Progressive States Network has named the state the nation’s leader in confronting the issue. Speaking on a media call Wednesday, PSN Senior Policy Specialist Tim Judson said the 2010 law has proved “the strongest in the country.” But he warned that the national picture remains bleak: “Where wage theft is concerned, there are essentially no cops on the beat.”
Judge sides with workers in Jimmy John’s case
A federal administrative law judge has ruled that a Twin Cities Jimmy John’s franchisee violated the union organizing rights of six employees by firing them last year after they publicly protested the restaurants’ sick leave policy. The workers, activists in the Industrial Workers of the World’s attempt to unionize the local Jimmy Johns, must be reinstated with back pay, according to an order late Friday by the judge, Arthur Amchan.
Ferrero sets date to end cocoa slavery
Chocolate maker Ferrero has pledged to eradicate slavery from farms where it sources its cocoa by 2020, as part of a growing movement by the multi-billion dollar industry to clean up its supply chains. The Italian company, which produces Ferrero Rocher chocolates, Nutella spread and Kinder eggs, follows Nestle and Hershey as the third major chocolate manufacturer to announce new anti-slavery moves since September.
SuperShuttle drivers say they face tough times under firm’s franchise system
Once, drivers of this ubiquitous blue-van airport shuttle service were salaried employees. But in the past 13 years, SuperShuttle has transformed its drivers into franchisees — what the company calls independent business owners. In doing so, SuperShuttle has shifted, in its own words, “hard to manage variable costs from the company” to the drivers, making “gross profits more stable and predictable.” Enajekpo and hundreds of other drivers across the country say the changes have done more harm than good — and, in a series of lawsuits, they say the company doesn’t allow drivers independence and is cheating them out of wages and benefits they would be entitled to as employees.
Half of recent college graduates are jobless or underemployed
The disappearance of mid-level jobs during the Great Recession, along with overall high unemployment, have made it hard for recent college graduates to find good jobs upon leaving school. More than 50 percent of college graduates under age 25 are either jobless or underemployed, according to an analysis from Drexel University and the Economic Policy Institute.