Ralph Nader: 30 million workers would benefit from raising minimum wage to 1968 level
In 2008, Barack Obama pledged to raise the minimum wage every year once elected, but the hourly rate of $7.25 hasn’t increased since 2007. Low-wage workers now make far less than they did four decades ago. Last week Illinois Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. introduced The Catching Up to 1968 Act of 2012. It draws its name from the idea that the federal minimum wage would be $10.55 an hour now if it had kept up with inflation over the past 40 years.
Minimum wage laws 100 years later
This week marks the 100th anniversary of the nation’s first minimum wage law, adopted in Massachusetts in 1912.
Senate OK’s worker-safety bills sponsored by Staten Island’s Savino
Two worker safety bills sponsored by state State Sen. Diane Savino have passed the Senate. The first bill would establish the crime of vehicular assault and vehicular manslaughter in an active work zone and intrusion into an active work zone. The second bill, which Ms. Savino sponsored with state Sen. Martin Golden (R-Brooklyn), would equate attacking a social worker or prison guard with assault on a police officer by establishing a second-degree assault charge punishable by up to seven years in prison.
Military suicides on record pace, outnumbering battlefield deaths
New figures show this year’s military suicide rate is on pace to reach a record high. The Pentagon says there have been at least 154 suicides among active-duty troops through last Thursday, a rate of nearly one each day. The figure marks an 18 percent increase over the same period a year ago. More U.S. soldiers have died by taking their own lives than been killed on the battlefield.
Frack sand mining boom: silica dust, air quality, and human health
“It’s basically strip mining,” said Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) environmental engineer Rick Wulk, describing the sand mining activity that has exploded across western Wisconsin since 2010. Mining silica and quartz and processing it into industrial sand is big business these days because this sand is an important component of hydraulic fracturing operations that extract natural gas from shale.
As Qatar builds for the World Cup, its workers face abuse
Hundreds of thousands of mostly South Asian migrant construction workers in Qatar risk serious exploitation and abuse, sometimes amounting to forced labor, Human Rights Watch said in a report. Both the government and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) need to make sure that their commitments to respect workers’ rights in preparation for the 2022 World Cup are carried out.