Remembering Steve Jobs’ record on workers’ rights
While Steve Jobs’ designs for computers may have put humans at their center, working conditions for Apple’s workers put profits at their center. Jobs did indeed revolutionize the computer industry, but in a way that was negative for American workers, who for decades have seen manufacturing job prospects dwindle as jobs go to workers overseas, who in turn often labor in brutal sweatshop conditions.
Falling off roofs becomes unlikely focus of OSHA regulatory debate
Republicans claim the Obama administration is choking small business with burdensome workplace regulations. Democrats say the few new regulations are modest and save lives. And caught in the middle of this ideological debate are America’s roofers.
A critic of OSHA roofer protection, Rep. Ribble has financial ties to roofing industry
At a congressional hearing held today, a member of Congress – who was not a member of the subcommittee weighing a workplace safety proposal – inserted himself when instead he should have recused himself, Public Citizen said. At today’s hearing of the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.) vigorously criticized the head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), David Michaels, over a directive requiring fall protection equipment for workers on residential roofing projects.
Dems battle GOP over cuts to new FAA air traffic control system
Advocates for a Federal Aviation Administration plan to implement a satellite-based air traffic control system argued Wednesday against GOP cuts to the program. The FAA has proposed implementing its new navigation system to replace World War II-era radar technology in control towers by 2014 at the busiest airports, at a cost of about $22 billion.
Boeing suit settlement stirs jetliner air safety debate
A former flight attendant is believed to be the first person in the U.S. to settle a lawsuit against the Boeing Co. over what she claims is faulty aircraft design that allowed toxic fumes to reach the cabin, triggering tremors, memory loss and severe headaches. The amount and other details of the settlement Wednesday between former American Airlines worker Terry Williams, a 42-year-old mother of two, and Boeing were not made public as a condition of the agreement.
NLRB postpones worker-notification rule
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Wednesday postponed the effective date that businesses must post notices to inform workers of their rights to labor union representation, amid am industry-led legal effort to block enforcement of the controversial regulation.
Companies that participated in oil spill cleanup aren’t immune from health claims
Nalco, the manufacturer of the Corexit dispersant, and other companies that participated in the oil clean-up aren’t immune from claims about worker health problems and other personal injuries, U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier has ruled. Under the government’s oil spill plan, BP contractors applied dispersant to the Gulf of Mexico, skimmed the oil and burned it. Many workers who helped with the clean-up and people who live in coastal areas now say they have gotten sick from the efforts to get rid of the oil.
TOSHA: No violations found in deadly wastewater accident
The Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration did not find any safety violations in its investigation of the cause of a fatal accident at the Gatlinburg Wastewater Treatment Plant, and will not fine the city or the company that manages the plant for the April 5 accident that resulted in the deaths of two employees. John Eslinger, lead operator of the plant, and Dan Storey, an operator at the plant, died when the wall of a holding basin fell on top of them while they were working beneath it.
Chilling details of Cupertino quarry killings
It was 4:15 a.m. Wednesday and about 15 workers at a Cupertino quarry were getting ready for a routine safety meeting in a company trailer. Longtime employee Shareef Allman said hi to everyone, grabbed a cup of coffee, then ducked out. Within moments he was back with a .40-caliber handgun and a .223-caliber assault rifle, witnesses say. He fired two shots into the air to grab everyone’s attention.
Coffee conundrum – caffeine and compliance
As I waited in line for coffee today and the customer ahead of me rattled off a litany of drink preferences – “16 oz., ristretto, caramel latte with skim milk, two shots of vanilla, one-inch of foam, double cups and no sleeve served at 140 degrees” – I couldn’t help but reflect on Seattleites’ affinity for complicated coffee drinking and widespread unfamiliarity with the basic labor standards and working conditions of those who prepare their coffee. The work is fast paced, precise and physically demanding. Hours are long and attentive customer service is a priority and expectation. Employees’ expectations, however, are not always met.