Federal advisory committee urges Obama administration to act on worker safety regulations
A federal advisory committee is urging HHS Secretary Sebelius and Labor Secretary Solis to proceed expeditiously with new worker safety regulations. In letters sent recently to these Cabinet-level officials, the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health, (NACOSH) the committee used phrases such as “deeply distressed,” and “concerned and disappointed,” to characterize the Obama Administration’s stalled efforts to advance new worker health and safety regulations.
Obama fails on minimum wage pledge
In 2008, then-President-elect Barack Obama made an ambitious pledge as part of his agenda to fight poverty, one he claimed would help “make work pay for all Americans” in an era of widening economic inequality: By the end of 2011, he would raise the federal minimum wage to $9.50 an hour and index it to inflation, “to make sure that full-time workers can earn a living wage,” as his transition team’s website put it. In effect, Obama was pushing for a 31 percent pay raise for millions of the country’s lowest earners. But when they collect their first paychecks for 2012, those workers will see no such raise.
Obama calls on business to solve teen job crisis
With President Obama’s announcement of his summer jobs program, “Summer Jobs+” today, teenage job seekers may get a boost in finding some much-needed work this year. The summer jobs program, which was originally part of the President’s American Jobs Act, which Congress has not passed, is a partnership between the Federal government and private sector in which they commit to create nearly 180,000 employment opportunities for low-income youth in the summer of 2012.
Why repealing child labor laws is a truly stupid idea
Did you hear the one where the Republican contender for president said we ought to repeal child labor laws? As the mother of a 10-year-old, Mr. Gingrich’s comments have been weighing on me. I had to speak up. Talk like this might get some headlines and votes, but it’s shortsighted to even think about abolishing child labor laws. Anyone who is thinking that this proposal is anything but idiotic needs a little history lesson.
Government accounted for nearly a third of all layoffs in 2011: report
For government workers and financial sector employees, last year was a particularly bad one — and 2012 likely won’t be much better. More jobs were lost in the government sector than any other industry in 2011, according to a report released Thursday from outplacement company Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
Safety board says Gallatin plant deaths were avoidable
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board will push the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to publish proposed safety rules within the next year to help prevent combustible-dust accidents after such incidents killed five workers in Gallatin last year. A final report was released this morning detailing the agency’s investigation of three fires at the Hoeganaes iron-powders plant in Gallatin that killed a total of five workers last year.
Fines for serious violations double in 2011; number of OSHA inspections drops slightly
The average proposed penalty for a serious workplace safety violation more than doubled in fiscal 2011, but the fines are still too low, says Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels. The average serious violation penalty for 2011 was $2,132, up 102 percent from the 2010 average of $1,053. Under the Bush administration in 2008, the average was $998. The maximum penalty for a serious violation is $7,000.
MSHA releases preliminary fatality data for 2011
Preliminary data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration released today reveal that 37 miners died in work-related accidents at the nation’s mines in 2011.
UCLA says it will fight ‘outrageous’ felony charges in fatal lab fire
The statute of limitations was about to run out this week when prosecutors filed felony charges in connection with a fatal 2008 laboratory fire at UCLA, surprising university officials and prompting an unusually strong response from them. Not only did they vow a vigorous defense of the “outrageous” charges against UC regents and chemistry professor Patrick Harran, but they also all but accused the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office of sandbagging them since their last contact in October 2010.