‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ ban on gays in US military ends
A policy banning open homosexuality in the US military has been repealed after nearly two decades. The dropping of “don’t ask, don’t tell” means service members can now reveal they are gay without fear of investigation or discharge.
In early Obama White House, female staffers felt frozen out
Friction about the roles of women in the Obama White House grew so intense during the first two years of the president’s tenure that he was forced to take steps to reassure senior women on his staff that he valued their presence and their input. At a dinner in November 2009, several senior female aides complained directly to the president that men enjoyed greater access to him and often muscled them out of key policy discussions.
Nikki Haley: Jobless on drugs claim from bad information
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) has admitted that she has no evidence backing her claim that half of job applicants at a local government facility flunked a drug test. She’d used the claim to push for requiring the jobless to pass a drug test to be eligible for benefits.
Chamber sues NLRB over union poster rule
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has sued the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to block its new regulation that would have employers post notices informing employees of their right to form a union. The Chamber joins at least two other prominent business groups in Washington — the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Federation of Independent Business — that have sued the labor board over the union poster rule.
Did OSHA fail workers at Harrison Power Station?
In today’s Gazette, we followed up on the death on Sunday of Ned Johnson, a 63-year-old longtime employee of FirstEnergy’s Harrison Power Station near Clarksburg. Specifically, we examined the sad fact that this particular worksite had not been inspected by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration in more than a decade.
Inside Amazon’s warehouse
During summer heat waves, Amazon arranged to have paramedics parked in ambulances outside, ready to treat any workers who dehydrated or suffered other forms of heat stress. Those who couldn’t quickly cool off and return to work were sent home or taken out in stretchers and wheelchairs and transported to area hospitals. And new applicants were ready to begin work at any time. An emergency room doctor in June called federal regulators to report an “unsafe environment” after he treated several Amazon warehouse workers for heat-related problems. The doctor’s report was echoed by warehouse workers who also complained to regulators, including a security guard who reported seeing pregnant employees suffering in the heat.
Tyson Foods forking over $32 million in wage settlement
For years, meatpacking companies refused to compensate workers for the time they spent suiting up for work and putting on safety gear. But now Tyson Foods Inc. is paying the price. As The Wall Street Journal reports, Tyson Foods has agreed to fork over up to $32 million to settle 12-year-old litigation seeking compensation for the time hourly poultry-plant workers need to get in and out of their work garb and gear.
Worker’s eye, facial injuries lead to firm’s $175,500 fine
OSHA has cited Spincraft in North Billerica, Mass., for 38 alleged violations of workplace safety standards. An inspection was opened after OSHA learned that a worker sustained serious eye and facial injuries when the grinding wheel of the portable grinder he was operating ruptured and kicked back in his face. Inspectors found that the grinder was not guarded or set up properly, and steps had not been taken to ensure that it was operated at the proper speed. The metal fabrication plant faces a total of $175,500 in proposed penalties.
OSHA cites La Crosse brewery for safety violations
A federal workplace-safety agency has cited City Brewing Co. for 16 serious safety violations at its La Crosse, Wis., brewery. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says the violations include failure to comply with certain safety standards, resulting in workers being exposed to ammonia during the maintenance of pipe lines.
Workers at Chrysler engine plants protest shifts
As Chrysler Group LLC nears a four-year contract with the United Auto Workers union, workers at a Chrysler engine plant have threatened a local strike and say production schedules threaten quality and safety. Punishing and routine schedule changes that have workers pulling a day shift one week and an evening shift the next have upset many of the more than 400 hourly employees at the Dundee, Michigan, plant owned and run by Chrysler’s Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance, or GEMA. Workers at the Dundee and Trenton plants say that Chrysler has the workers on a rotating shift schedule that calls for them to move between days and nights in order to limit costly overtime.