Raising the floor on pay
As the nation’s economy slowly recovers and income inequality emerges as a crucial issue in the presidential campaign, lawmakers are facing growing pressure to raise the minimum wage, which was last increased at the federal level to $7.25 an hour in July 2009. State legislators in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Illinois and elsewhere are pushing to raise the minimum wage above the federal level in their own states, arguing that $7.25 an hour is too meager for anyone to live on.
Lawmakers praise Pentagon on sexual assault prevention progress
Two Democratic lawmakers praised the Pentagon and Army Monday for making progress on military sexual assault prevention, including building new databases and increasing sexual assault training. Reps. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) and Niki Tsongas (D-Mass.) pointed to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released last week that said the Defense Department has put in place 13 recommendations on sexual assault and partially implemented another 12.
Peter TerVeer, Library of Congress employee, claims he was fired for being gay
A former Library of Congress staff member has filed a discrimination complaint after he was allegedly harassed and humiliated by a supervisor before ultimately being fired after he came out as gay. The Washington Blade reports that Peter TerVeer, who worked as a management analyst at the Library of Congress’s Office of the Inspector General from 2008 until last week, claims he was forced to take disability leave last fall and earlier this year after supervisor John R. Mech created a hostile work environment, even citing biblical passages condemning homosexuality.
Alpha Natural Resources and West Virginia mine blast survivors continue legal battles
Nine men who survived West Virginia’s Upper Big Branch mine disaster want to abandon mediation of their personal injury claims and start gathering evidence for trial because they say the mine’s new owner isn’t negotiating in good faith. The miners also suggest one reason Virginia-based Alpha Natural Resources is sealing the former Massey Energy mine where 29 men died is to prevent that collection of evidence, according to a motion to lift a stay that’s been in place since last September.
Crane operator regulations dispute gets ugly
Last week’s crane accident on the Far West Side, which killed one construction worker, has sparked a debate over the control of crane operators — who will hire them and how they will be vetted, the New York Post reported. The union slammed Mayor Michael Bloomberg, saying he is defending the pocket books of “his super-rich developer friends,” by allowing new New York City Department of Buildings regulations that would allow additional crane operators to work in the city, in a statement.
Toxic products in California nail salons under renewed scrutiny
Salon workers’ health has long been an important issue for advocates, who say salon employees work long hours in hazardous conditions and suffer health problems as a result. Workers have more headaches, respiratory problems and skin irritations than the general population and are exposed to chemicals at higher than recommended levels, according to research in scientific journals.
Newsflash: Youth and good looks work well on TV
Mr. Hunter, an award winning, certified meteorologist, claims the stations hired young, attractive females, instead of qualified males like himself, in an effort to hook more male viewers. He is suing CBS Broadcasting in California state court for gender and age discrimination in violation of California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), seeking money damages, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees for the alleged discrimination and his “pain and suffering.”
US Department of Labor’s OSHA cites Gilster-Mary Lee Corp. in Steeleville, Ill., after combustible dust explosion seriously burns 2 maintenance workers
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Gilster-Mary Lee Corp. for six safety violations – including three willful – after two maintenance employees conducting welding operations sustained serious burns to their upper bodies as the result of an explosion within a dust collector at the company’s Steeleville pasta manufacturing plant on Oct. 6, 2011.