Railroad companies fight safety rules, with help from GOP and Obama
Less than four years after a California train disaster spurred passage of major safety legislation, railroad companies are pushing hard to relax the law’s chief provision. They have won over key Republicans, and extracted a major concession from the Obama administration, in their bid to scale back and delay a system to prevent crashes such as the head-on collision that caused 25 deaths and 135 injuries in Chatsworth, Calif.
New Mexico lawmaker proposes state guest worker program for undocumented immigrants
While neighboring Arizona keeps its notorious anti-immigrant law on the books, New Mexico may be taking another path. State Sen. Steve Fischmann (D) is proposing a guest worker plan to let undocumented immigrants work legally in the state. If immigrants can prove they have lived in New Mexico for the past year and pass a background check, they could get a worker’s permit and legal status.
Public Citizen to OSHA: Enforce labeling law for toxic coal byproduct
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) should enforce a law requiring manufacturers of coal slag abrasive to disclose that their product contains dangerous levels of beryllium, Public Citizen said in a letter sent today to OSHA enforcement director Thomas Galassi. Workers use coal slag abrasive to blast ship hulls, bridges and other metal structures in preparation for painting.
Gingrich daughter’s teen work may have violated law
During the Republican presidential debate this week, Newt Gingrich shared a story about how his daughter worked as a church janitor when she was only 13. “I was actually proud of my clean bathrooms,” Jackie Gingrich Cushman said in an telephone interview Tuesday, referring to the janitorial job she held at the First Baptist Church in Carrollton, Ga., in the early 1980s. “I learned work has value.” But that work may have been a violation of federal child labor laws that her father has denounced as “stupid.”
NYPD accused of discrimination in Intelligence Division
Black detectives in the New York City Police Department’s Intelligence Division filed a federal complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging racial discrimination in NYPD hiring and promotion practices. The New York Civil Liberties Union filed the report last month on behalf of complainants, who accuse the Intelligence Division of employing a “secretive and standardless promotions policy” that promotes white officers ahead of better-qualified African-American officers. They said there is a “secret list” of officers to be promoted, most of them white.
Nurses’ miscarriages linked to chemicals at work
Nurses who worked with chemotherapy drugs or sterilizing chemicals were twice as likely to have a miscarriage as their colleagues who didn’t handle these materials, in a new study.
D.C. cracks down on prostitution
There’s a reason why sex workers have been feeling more police pressure, says Cyndee Clay, executive director of HIPS. Five years ago, the D.C. Council passed a law allowing the police to designate certain streets or neighborhoods “prostitution-free zones.” In these zones, officers can make arrests with a lower burden of proof.
State fines warehouse companies for safety violations
State regulators have fined a pair of Inland Empire warehouse operating companies more than a quarter of a million dollars for allowing unsafe working conditions at four San Bernardino County distribution centers. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health Wednesday said it issued $256,445 in citations for more than 60 violations found during a recent inspection of warehouses in Chino.
OSHA cites Eau Claire firm after accident
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is seeking a $70,000 fine against Eau Claire trailer-hitch maker Curt Manufacturing LLC following an incident in which an employee’s thumb was crushed in an unguarded press brake and had to be amputated.
NTSB: Controller with history of disciplinary problems nearly caused in-flight collision
An air traffic controller with a history of disciplinary problems nearly caused a midair collision between a regional airliner and a small plane last year, the National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday. A regional jet operated by ExpressJet and a single-engine Cessna came within 300 feet of colliding after they were cleared to take off on intersecting runways at Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport in Mississippi on June 19, according to NTSB officials and documents released by the board.