Obama to make three recess appointments to NLRB
In addition to recess appointing consumer-finance chief Richard Cordray, President Obama will also appoint three new members to the National Labor Relations Board. The background is that Republicans have spent the past year blocking Obama’s nominees to the NLRB. As Travis Waldron explains, that’s brought the NLRB to the brink of institutional collapse.
Obama signs pipeline safety bill
President Obama signed into law Tuesday a pipeline safety bill that gained momentum after a string of high-profile incidents, including a deadly Northern California explosion in 2010. The bill, which passed Congress with rare bipartisan support, doubles the maximum fine for safety violations to $2 million, authorizes more pipeline inspectors and requires automatic shut-off valves on new or replaced pipelines “where economically, technically and operationally feasible.”
The bogus case against the minimum wage hike
Eight states and one city (San Francisco) raised their minimum wage this week, providing a pay raise to just over 1 million workers. In the face of this good news, the opponents of the minimum wage are warning of serious job loss. They are likely to be proved wrong, yet again.
Breast-feeding at work now protected by law
Breast-feeding avengers may be coming to a workplace near you. The Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law in March 2010, amended the Fair Labor Standards Act, and for the first time employers are now federally mandated to provide women with breaks and a place to breastfeed. The final rules regarding the law have not been finalized, but that hasn’t stopped the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour division’s enforcers from going after employers who don’t make accommodations for working moms who want to pump.
Road funds at risk in some states over safety rule
Stuck in a financial pothole, Missouri’s highway department has been selling equipment and eliminating employees to scrounge up enough money to repair its roads. Unless it also changes state law, it could lose tens of millions of federal highway dollars as a penalty for not adopting new safety requirements for commercial truck drivers.
Union: Media’s portrayal of TSA employees has hurt our bargaining power
Despite the dangerous nature of their jobs, TSA workers have long been denied the ability to improve their working conditions through collective bargaining. Reports and surveys by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general show morale among TSA workers is at record lows, and that this jeopardizes airport security.
Court dismisses case against NYC crane rules
Dismissing a claim by the Steel Institute of New York that revised New York City crane rules a pre-empted by federal workplace safety regulations, a New York court has said it is ‘manifestly absurd’ to argue that state rules designed to protect the public are pre-empted by the existence of federal rules aimed at protecting workers.
Employee bathroom surveillance camera, although faulty, could be invasion of privacy
The employer placed a camera in the unisex bathroom. Koeppel sued the employer for invasion of privacy and sexual harassment. The trial court granted the employer’s motion for summary judgment. The Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed on the sexual harassment claim and reversed on the invasion of privacy claim. The Iowa Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeals.
State memo: Wyoming’s lack of ‘culture of safety’ common theme in worker deaths
Wyoming’s lack of a “culture of safety” is a common theme tying together the state’s high rate of workplace deaths, says the state’s occupational epidemiologist. During the past decade, an average of one worker died every 10 days, state epidemiologist Timothy Ryan said in a memo to Gov. Matt Mead dated Dec. 19 and released Tuesday by the governor’s office.
Homicides in retail trade, 2003–2008
Nearly two-thirds of all homicides in the retail trade sector during the 2003–2008 period occurred in two types of retail establishments: food and beverage stores (41.4 percent) and gasoline stations (22.0 percent). The other third were distributed among 10 other types of retailers, including motor vehicle and parts dealers (8.4 percent), clothing and clothing accessories stores (6.8 percent), and general merchandise stores (4.9 percent).