Inspector general to examine ‘model workplaces’ program
The Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General will examine a federal program that recognizes “model workplaces” and exempts them from regular inspections, the office’s audit plan for the coming fiscal year shows. The assessment comes as an Occupational Safety and Health Administration task force is conducting its own review of the agency’s Voluntary Protection Programs — the subject of a recent Center for Public Integrity investigation.
Day-to-day labor: The hazards of low-wage temping in America
The news of increased hiring in the January jobs report has been greeted as a sign that the US might finally be emerging from the Great Recession. But a look at the kind of hiring that’s been on the rise over the past few years raises important questions about the changing nature of the relationship between workers and employers – questions that have serious implications for occupational health and safety as well as workers’ financial security.
Democrats’ unemployment offer: no drug testing of jobless, fewer weeks of benefits
Democrats in the U.S. Senate this week firmly rejected GOP proposals to drug-test the jobless, but they signaled a new willingness to compromise on cutting weeks of unemployment benefits. Members of both parties in the House and Senate are negotiating a legislative package that would extend unemployment insurance and a host of other domestic spending provisions, chief among them a 2 percent Social Security payroll tax cut.
Senate Republicans would require the unemployed to volunteer
Republicans in the U.S. Senate want the long-term unemployed to volunteer for 20 hours a week in order to receive unemployment insurance. A bill introduced Thursday by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) would also require claimants drawing benefits six months or longer to search for work at least 20 hours a week.
iEmpire: Apple’s sordid business practices even worse than you think
It turns out the story is much worse. Researchers with the Hong Kong-based Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) say that legions of vocational and university students, some as young as 16, are forced to take months’-long “internships” in Foxconn’s mainland China factories assembling Apple products. The details of the internship program paint a far more disturbing picture than the Times does of how Foxconn, “the Chinese hell factory,” treats its workers, relying on public humiliation, military discipline, forced labor and physical abuse as management tools to hold down costs and extract maximum profits for Apple.
Apple store protests taking place around the world Thursday
Protesters descended on Apple stores around the world, including in Washington, on Thursday to protest labor conditions at the company’s manufacturing facilities in China. The issue has become a thorny one for Apple after the factories that make its products experienced explosions in 2011 and worker suicides in 2010.
Meeting planned over safety improvements at Indiana State Fair
Indiana workplace safety regulators will meet with representatives of the Indiana State Fair sometime in the next two weeks to discuss safety improvements in the wake of last August’s fatal stage collapse just before a Sugarland concert, a Department of Labor spokesman said Friday.