United States Department of Labor

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October 16, 2014
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By The Numbers By The Numbers: Tower workers are 10 times more likely to die on the job than construction workers.

Work In Progress: The Best of Our Blog

Each week, this space will bring you the best from our (Work in Progress) blog.

Boosting Wages Boosts Demand: Increasing the minimum wage is not a Red State versus Blue State issue. It's good business. The bottom line is that it boosts consumer demand, which is how Main Street businesses grow, writes Frank Knapp Jr., president and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce.

It Must Stop: Chad Weller was a communication tower technician. He worked to bring you the cell service you use every day. But all that changed when Chad was sent up a cell tower during dangerous conditions and lost his life, writes Kathy Pierce, Chad's mom.

Paying it Forward: Investing in the future of Hispanic Americans: As Hispanic Heritage Month comes to a close, the department is working hard every day to make sure the opportunities of a growing economy are available to everyone, writes Heidi Shierholz, chief economist at the department.

Disability Employment Champions

Every week, the Obama administration invites ordinary Americans to the White House to celebrate the extraordinary accomplishments they've made in their communities. On Oct. 14, Secretary Perez and agency heads Kathy Martinez and Patricia Shiu celebrated 10 Champions of Change who have helped create employment opportunities for people with disabilities. At the White House event, Martinez debuted a public service announcement, sponsored by the Office of Disability Employment Policy, that highlights the many skills of workers with disabilities. Perez applauded the PSA, and the efforts of the department and disability advocates in attendance. "We need to build an economy where people with disabilities are fully empowered," he said.

Read the Blog Post
Watch the Event
Learn About Disability Employment

Access to Technology

Deputy Secretary of Labor Christopher P. Lu delivers remarks at 2014 Accessibility Conference in Washington, D.C. Click for a larger photo.

The development and adoption of technology that is accessible, usable and universally designed for all workers with disabilities is a priority for the department. On Oct. 15, Deputy Secretary Chris Lu and Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez joined federal agency leaders and private business executives at the 2014 Accessibility Conference. Co-sponsored by the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services, the event unveiled a new ODEP-funded action center on accessible technology. The Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology is a multi-faceted initiative working to advance the employment, retention and career advancement of people with disabilities through accessible technology. The user-friendly web portal will make it easy for employers to learn about and actively engage in issues related to accessible technology and employment. "We want employers — in both the public and private sector — to recognize the value of adopting and implementing accessible technology in their own workplace," said Lu.

Read the News Release
Visit the PEAT Web Page

Mine Rescue Skills Championship

A mine rescue team enters the burn tunnel to practice its skills at the Mining Technology and Training Center. Click for a larger photo.

Twenty-four mine rescue teams from around the country participated in the Nationwide Coal Mine Rescue Skills Championship on Oct. 7 and 8 in Prosperity, Pa. Hosted by the Mining Technology and Training Center, with support from the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the two-day event featured simulated emergency exercises involving smoke exploration and ventilation, firefighting, fire hose management, gas detection, air measurements, use of breathing apparatus and a written test. The three teams with the fastest times took the top prizes. First place went to Alpha Natural Resources' Coal River East from West Virginia, second place to Alpha Natural Resources' Brooks Run South Black from West Virginia, and third place to Alpha Maxxim Blue from Virginia.

Read the News Release
View the Video

Common Goals in Labor Relations

Members of the U.S. Labor and Employee Relations Network heard from Wage and Hour Division Administrator Dr. David Weil on Oct. 15 in Washington D.C. "We can work together to achieve some common goals: a level competitive playing field for employers, more productive, better-protected employees, and a stronger economy for all," he told them. The organization brings together top labor relations executives to discuss current issues, recent labor negotiations, best practices and initiatives, and trends that affect their companies and their labor relations strategy. Weil discussed enforcement challenges facing the agency and sought input from participants.

Recovery Funds for West Virginia

A supplemental National Emergency Grant of $203,940 has been awarded by the department to West Virginia to fund employment opportunities during clean-up efforts following severe storms and flooding that occurred in June 2013. "West Virginia still has a long road left in its recovery from the damage caused by last summer's storms and flooding," said Portia Wu, assistant secretary of labor for employment and training. "This additional federal funding will help the state in its ongoing clean-up efforts, while also providing temporary jobs for those in need of employment."

Read the News Release

Training is the Watchword

More than 300 mine safety trainers participated in the Mine Safety and Health Administration's annual Training Resources Applied to Mining seminar Oct. 14-16 in Beaver, W.Va. The three-day conference, held at the National Mine Health and Safety Academy, featured presentations by top safety trainers and exhibits of innovative health and safety products. TRAM provides numerous opportunities for trainers from the mining community to improve their programs with new ideas, instructional methods and materials. Most of the materials — developed by MSHA, state grant recipients and the mining industry — are free to seminar participants.

50 Years Supporting Farmworkers

The National Farmworker Job Program this year celebrates 50 years of helping migrant and seasonal farmworkers and their families with services such as education, housing and childcare. The program was created as part of the suite of programs designed to promote equality and opportunity through the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Economic Opportunity Act. The NFJP services help farmworkers retain and stabilize their current agriculture jobs, as well as enable them to participate in training and enter new careers that offer higher wages and a more stable employment outlook. Currently, the department provides employment and training grants to 52 grantees across the country.

Read the Blog Post
Learn About the NFJP

Encouraging Female Programmers

Cal State Fullerton students Maira Ahmad and Noemi Quezada won the grand-prize in the Natural Disaster Challenge for their app  'Missing You' to help family and friends find each other when separated in times of crisis, at the 2014 International Women's Hackathon at California State University San Marcos. Click for a larger photo.

In an effort to promote leadership and increase the representation of women and girls in computer science and programming, the Women's Bureau's San Francisco Regional Office joined 11 local organizations in hosting the 2014 International Women's Hackathon at California State University San Marcos on Oct. 11 in San Marcos, Calif. The hackathon was part of a number of events convened by Microsoft Research. Approximately 60 girls ages 16 and older participated in the 12-hour event, designing websites, games and apps to address climate change and disaster response. Despite making up 47 percent of the U.S. labor force, women hold only 23 percent of computer programming jobs.

See More Statistics on Women in IT

Storm Relief for Mississippi

A $1,910,024 National Emergency Grant incremental award will support continued temporary employment for eligible individuals assisting with the clean-up and recovery efforts following severe storms, tornadoes and flooding in Mississippi in April. "The damage caused by this spring's storms in Mississippi was severe and extremely disruptive for local communities and businesses," said Secretary Perez. "This federal funding provides the state with additional resources to ensure that recovery efforts can continue." The funds — which were approved in May for up to $5,599,860, with $1,866,620 released initially — are being awarded to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.

Read the News Release

Consulate Agreement Renewed

All representing the Atlanta, Ga., region are (left to Right) Wage and Hour Assistant District Director, Sung Kim Chu; General Consulate of Guatemala, Rosa Maria Merida De Mora; Wage and Hour Regional Administrator Wayne Kotowski; Maria Fernanda Rivera, Consulate General of Honduras; and General Consulate of El Salvador, Claudia Valenzuela pose after signing memorandum of understanding agreements. Click for a larger photo.

Memorandum of understanding agreements were renewed in Atlanta on Oct. 9 by Wage and Hour Southeast Regional Administrator Wayne Kotowski and Consulate Generals Maria Fernanda Rivera of Honduras, Rosa Maria Merida De Mora of Guatemala and Claudia Valenzuela of El Salvador. The agreements extend collaborative relationships to help workers exercise their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, and the H-2A and H-2B programs under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Protecting Arkansas Workers

Ensuring the health and safety of workers during the construction of the Little Rock Outlets Mall in Little Rock, Ark., is the goal of a new strategic partnership formed between the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and general contractor CDI Contractors LLC. OSHA and CDI will work to reduce serious workplace injuries and illnesses, increase the number of safety and health programs among contractors and subcontractors, and build a relationship focused on preventing work-related fatalities.

Read the News Release

Expanded Assistance in Texas

Employees, employers, community organizations and other stakeholders in Austin, Texas, can better connect with the Wage and Hour Division for compliance assistance with federal wage laws because of a newly upgraded district office. "Enhancing this office will enable it to serve as a great one-stop resource for compliance assistance and information concerning the federal labor laws we enforce," said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest.

Read the News Release

Construction Partnership Renewed

The Samuels Group and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have renewed a strategic partnership to protect and educate workers on the Sacred Heart Hospital Curtail Wall Replacement Project in Eau Claire, Wis. Construction hazards such as fall, electrical, caught-in and struck-by will be highlighted. "We want to help Sacred Heart identify and control hazards, while continuing to improve safety and health programs at the site and encouraging employee participation," said Mark Hysell, OSHA's area director in Eau Claire. The $20 million project is scheduled for completion in 2015. The renewal of the partnership, originally signed in April 2012, covers the second phase of the project.

Read the News Release

Weekly UI Claims

The department reported that the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial Unemployment Insurance claims was 264,000 for the week ending Oct. 11, a decrease of 23,000 from the previous week's unrevised level. The four-week moving average was 283,500, down 4,250 from the previous week's unrevised average.

Read the News Release

Upcoming Deadlines & Events

Open Funding Opportunities

OASAM — Vendor Outreach Session

October 22 — Washington, DC

OFCCP — What to expect during an OFCCP Audit

November 6 — Houston, TX

OFCCP — Employment 411: Conference for Business and Community Based Organizations

October 24 — Columbus, OH

OFCCP — Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health Meeting

November 6 — Washington, DC

OWCP — Town Hall Meeting to assist nuclear weapons workers

October 21 — Paducah, KY
October 22 — Paducah, KY
October 22 — Paducah, KY

OSHA — Stakeholder Meeting on Improving OSHA's Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory Program

October 22 — Washington, DC

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What's New

Nearly $170M Awarded to Help Link Long-Term Unemployed with Jobs

Despite job growth being at the healthiest pace since 1998, long-term unemployment remains near historic highs. To help reach this unique population, the department will award nearly $170 million in grants through the Ready to Work Partnerships initiative. According to the announcement made on Oct. 15, 23 programs will be funded, serving individuals in 20 states and Puerto Rico. The grantees will incorporate three primary functions: identifying and recruiting participants, providing customized job training and support services, and developing strong partnerships with employers and industry groups to place participants in good jobs. "The constant struggle to find work has left many Americans feeling discouraged and disregarded," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "The federal grants we're awarding today are part of a series of administration initiatives designed to help encourage, empower and employ this pool of talented individuals."

Read the White House Fact Sheet
Read the News Release

Developing Strategies to Address Homelessness

Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez delivers opening remarks at the National Summit on Integrating Employment and Housing Strategies to Prevent and End Homelessness, October 16. Click for a larger photo.

The "Partnership for Opening Doors" summit, which took place at the Labor Department's headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 16, sought to identify strategies and develop commitments from stakeholders for aligning employment and housing systems to prevent and end homelessness. Co-hosted by the Departments of Labor and Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and the Butler Family Fund, it brought together community leaders to identify — and create plans for implementing — best practices for aligning both systems, in order to improve access to quality jobs, skills training, and employment-related supportive services for those experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Secretary Perez, who serves as the chair of the council, opened the summit with remarks emphasizing the importance of cross-agency and community collaboration. He also highlighted new tools to address homelessness, which are available through the recently passed Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. HUD Secretary Julian Castro also participated in the event and joined Perez in providing closing remarks.

Learn About Combating Homelessness

A Push for $10.10 on 10/10

Secretary Perez takes questions about the need to raise the national minimum wage in a Facebook chat hosted by MSNBC, October 10, 2014. Click for a larger photo.

Secretary Perez marked National Minimum Wage Day on Oct. 10 with a full court press on the need to raise the national minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10. Perez took part in a press call with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Rep. George Miller, as well as low-wage worker Janet Rowland, who's struggling to make ends meet and get a college degree. "I can't think of a principle more fundamental to who we are as a country than rewarding hard work with a fair wage," said Perez. "That's why the president, working with our allies in Congress, is fighting so hard for $10.10, an increase that will benefit about 28 million people. It's a centerpiece of the administration's agenda to expand opportunity for all." Later, Perez took his call for a wage hike to television and new media, participating in an MSNBC Facebook chat where he received more than 100 questions in a session viewed by — 40,000 people. He also partnered with Sen. Tom Harkin and Rep. Miller, saying on CNN.com that "hard work should be rewarded with fair pay of at least $10.10 per hour."

Read the Facebook Chat on MSNBC
Read the CNN Opinion Piece

National News

Partnership to Stop Deaths of Cell Tower Workers

Bridgette Hester, who lost her husband in a tower collapse in 2013, tells her story to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Wheeler (center) and Secretary of Labor Perez. Click for a larger photo.

In an unprecedented interagency event, the Department of Labor and the Federal Communications Commission joined leaders in the telecommunications industry, including AT&T, on Oct. 14 to discuss new and continuing efforts to prevent worker fatalities on cell towers. Secretary Perez and FCC Chairman Thomas E. Wheeler were on hand to deliver remarks highlighting the importance of the issue and need for partnership in solving the growing problem. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration led a workshop featuring the families of fallen workers, industry stakeholders, former tower climbers and officials from both OSHA and the FCC. Perez and Wheeler also announced the formation of a new working group that will collaborate in the development and implementation of recommended safety practices for the growing telecommunications industry. To cap off the day, they, along with Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels, participated in a signing ceremony for the new Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program, which will provide skills training with an emphasis on safety for tower technicians. "The cellphones in our pockets can't come at the cost of a worker's life," said Perez before the signing ceremony. "We know we can't solve this problem alone though, and that's why I am so glad to be joined in partnership on this issue with the FCC and major carriers like AT&T. It's a perfect example of federal agencies and industry breaking down barriers and identifying common goals to save workers' lives."

Watch the Event
Read the News Release
Visit OSHA's Communication Tower Page
Read the Blog Post

Job Training Services Available for Residents of Public Housing

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced the availability of $24 million in grants to public housing authorities to help their residents obtain job training services. In cooperation with the Department of Labor, the Jobs Plus Pilot program will partner with American Job Centers and local workforce investment boards to develop eight locally-based, job-driven partnerships to increase earnings and advance employment outcomes through work readiness, employer linkages, job placement and financial literacy training for residents of public housing.

Learn About the Jobs Plus Pilot Program

International Scene

Grant Available to Assist in Labor Law Compliance in the Philippines

A $1 million competitive solicitation for a project to assist the government of the Philippines with improving compliance with labor laws and regulations, including those related to occupational safety and health, was announced Oct. 15, by the Bureau of International Labor Affairs. "This project will provide rigorous training to increase the effectiveness of inspections and compliance with domestic labor laws in the Philippines," said Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Carol Pier. The project will focus on making labor inspections conducted by labor law compliance officers more effective, and increasing workers, employers and their representatives' capacity to monitor violations of labor rights and conduct joint assessments with labor law compliance officers.

Read the News Release

$1.4 Million in Funding to Combat Labor Discrimination in Mexico

The Bureau of International Labor Affairs has announced a $1,389,000 competitive solicitation for a project to assist the government of Mexico in combatting labor discrimination by supporting enforcement of the strengthened anti-discrimination provisions in Mexico's Federal Labor Law Reform of 2012. The goal of the funding is to increase compliance with the expanded protections against labor discrimination under Mexican labor law, with a specific focus on combating gender discrimination, forced pregnancy testing, sexual harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation. "Countries like Mexico are making welcome progress in reforming laws to better protect workers from discrimination and harassment based on gender or sexual orientation," said Carol Pier, deputy undersecretary of labor for international affairs.

Read the News Release

News You Can Use

How to Navigate Employment Challenges

Portia Wu, assistant secretary of labor for employment and training, traveled to Dallas on Oct. 9 for a summit hosted by Deloitte Consulting and the Rockefeller Foundation on helping the long-term unemployed get back to work. The two organizations recently released handbooks — created in consultation with human resources departments from numerous companies — to help employers and long-term unemployed job seekers identify best practices to overcome the challenges to finding work. The handbooks provides guidance and resources to reassess job search strategies and educate employers on the value of these workers.

View the Handbooks

DOL Working for You

Certified Nurse Assistant Fights for Her FMLA Rights — and Wins

Ethel Williams. Click for a larger photo.

While in treatment at the intensive care unit of a Las Vegas hospital, certified nurse assistant Ethel Williams learned that her employer of nine years, Mission Pines Rehabilitation Center, had fired her. Her social worker reassured her that she had rights and that it appeared that she was wrongfully terminated under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Williams lost her apartment. Her car was repossessed. Newly homeless, she was forced to move from place to place. She even had to apply for food stamps. Having lost her sense of independence, Williams was in a state of desperation. Nevertheless, she was determined to fight for her rights and sought the help of the Wage and Hour Division in Las Vegas. After looking into her situation, investigator David Fragoso called her. "Ethel, I have good news for you," he said. "Can you come to our offices, please?" When Williams arrived, she was handed a check for more than $16,000 in back wages. "I lost most everything but in the end came out a winner," she said.

DOL in Action

Dollar Tree Demonstrated 'Blatant Disregard for Worker Safety'

National discount chain Dollar Tree Stores Inc. has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for willfully and repeatedly exposing workers to serious hazards at its store in Watauga, Texas. Across the nation, Dollar Tree Stores have been cited for more than 200 safety and health violations since 2009. Proposed penalties for the latest inspection total $262,500. "In the past five months, OSHA has issued more than $800,000 in fines to Dollar Tree Stores for the same or similar violations," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "This latest incident yet again demonstrates the company's deliberate and ongoing refusal to effectively address hazards that have been cited multiple times at their stores across the country. OSHA will not tolerate such blatant disregard for worker safety."

Read the News Release

Vietnamese Restaurant to Pay $93,000 in Back Wages, Damages

Eighteen workers at Xanh Restaurant in Mountain View, Calif., will be paid $93,381 in back wages and damages following an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division. The restaurant owner also must pay civil penalties. Investigators in San Francisco found that the owner did not pay all employees time-and-a-half for hours worked over 40 per week and instead paid them at straight time. "This settlement puts money back in the hands of employees who rightfully earned it, and helps to level the playing field for those businesses that abide by the law," said Susana Blanco, district director for the division's San Francisco District Office.

Read the News Release

Department Wins Lawsuit Seeking Louisiana Union Election Rerun

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana recently granted the department's motion for default judgment against National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 2730 in Gretna, La. The motion voided Branch 2730's Nov. 6, 2012, election of officers, and directed a new election under department supervision. An investigation by the Office of Labor-Management Standards led to the lawsuit alleging that the union failed to timely mail ballots and election notices, failed to mail ballots and election notices to all members, and failed to have voted ballots returned to a secure location.

Railway Company Wrongfully Terminated Worker After Injury Reported

Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC wrongfully terminated an employee in Kansas City, Kan., after he reported an injury to his left shoulder, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The company has been found in violation of the Federal Railroad Safety Act, and OSHA ordered the company to pay the apprentice electrician $225,385 in back wages and damages, remove disciplinary information from the employee's personnel record and provide whistleblower rights information to all its employees.

Read the News Release

Former Louisiana Union Employee Sentenced for Embezzling Funds

Jeanine Breaux, former secretary/bookkeeper for the United Brotherhood of Carpenters Local 1846 in Metairie, La., recently was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $82,414 after being convicted of embezzlement. In March, Breaux pleaded guilty to a charge of embezzlement of union funds in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. An investigation conducted by the Office of Labor-Management Standards found that Breaux received cash dues payments at the union hall, credited the union members' accounts in the union's financial books, but did not deposit all of the cash she collected. In an attempt to cover up her crime, she also falsified electronic records which caused the union to file false Labor Management reports with the department.

Cleveland Workers Exposed to Combustible Dust, Amputation Hazards

An inspection found workers were exposed to combustible dust, amputation and other serious hazards at Hurst Auto-Truck Electric Ltd. in Cleveland, Ohio. Consequently, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the company for 15 serious safety and health violations and has proposed penalties of $62,300 The plant specializes in chrome-plating and powder-coating finished accessories for the automotive industry.

Read the News Release

Safety Guard Might Have Prevented Lumber Mill Fatality in Mississippi

Fulton, Miss.-based Graham Lumber Co. has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for two safety violations following the death of an employee in April. The worker was killed after he became entangled in a conveyor belt at the company's lumber mill. The violations included the company's failure to ensure conveyor belts and machine parts were guarded to prevent employees from becoming caught in them. "This tragic incident could have been prevented if the employer ensured that the safety guard, which had been removed, was replaced immediately," said Eugene Stewart, director of OSHA's Jackson Area Office.

Read the News Release

Washington, DC, Union to Rerun Officer Election

The National Alliance of Postal and Federal Employees in Washington, D.C., recently agreed to conduct new nominations and a new election for all offices under the supervision of the Office of Labor-Management Standards. An OLMS investigation of a March 2014 officer election found that an inaccurate member mailing list prevented eligible members from being notified of the election, which subsequently prevented them from voting. The union also permitted ineligible members to vote in the election. The new election will be held by May 15, 2015.

Connecticut Contractor Faulted for Brazen Fall Hazards

A New Haven, Conn.-based roofing contractor that exposed its employees to potentially fatal falls at a Bridgeport work site now faces $70,070 in fines after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted an inspection. Xtreme Restoration & Waterproofing LLC was found to have deliberately failed to supply required fall protection to its employees. The company was cited following a June inspection at a site where workers were on top of a residential work site without fall protection. The company was cited with a willful violation for lack of fall protection, and a repeat violation for lack of fall protection training, which OSHA previously had cited the company for in 2011 at a different job site.

Read the News Release

Toledo Restaurant Owner Pays $38,000 in Back Wages

Toledo, Ohio-area restaurant owner Nicholas Tokles has paid 69 cooks, bartenders and servers a total of $38,425 in back wages after an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act's minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions at his restaurants. A consent judgment, entered in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Western Division, ordered the payment. "Failure to pay legally required minimum wage and overtime deprives workers and their families of money for daily living expenses," said George Victory, district director of the division's Columbus Office.

Read the News Release

Assisted Living Center in Contempt for Retaliation

Fatima/Zahra Inc., doing business as Lake Alhambra Assisted Living Center, and its owners and operators, Mehrangiz Sarkeshik and Abolfazl Sarkeshik, have been found in contempt of a temporary restraining order issued earlier this year. The business and its owners continued to retaliate against its employees during an investigation by the department. Judge Claudia Wilken of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ordered the Sarkeshiks to halt current efforts to sell the business unless they obtained a new agreement without a clause requiring termination of all employees and posted a bond or arranged for a $553,000 escrow, which would be available to satisfy a potential judgment for back wages and damages in this case. "The court reinforced our position that we will not tolerate the vicious cycle of worker exploitation through fear, coercion and intimidation," said Ruben Rosalez, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the West.

Read the News Release

Cabinet Company to Pay Nearly $250,000 for Labor Violations

Avila's Tile and Cabinets in Tulare, Calif., is paying $244,905 in back wages and liquidated damages to 31 of its employees following an investigation by the department. The employer failed to pay time-and-a-half for overtime hours, paid for such hours as straight time in cash and with no payment records, and failed to keep a record of overtime hours worked. "This investigation puts money back into the hands of these workers denied their rightfully earned wages," said Nora Pedraza, Wage and Hour Division assistant district director in Fresno. "This practice not only hurts workers and their families, but it gives violating companies an unfair competitive advantage over others in the industry who play by the rules."

Read the News Release

Five Violations Issued in Deadly Tree Trimming Accident

A 39-year-old tree trimmer was killed when the mechanical arm supporting the bucket of an aerial lift suddenly collapsed, striking the cab of the truck and ejecting the worker onto the pavement. As a result of the fatality, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Advanced Tree Service for five safety violations. The employee was topping off a tree at a residence in Gainesville, Fla., when the incident occurred. OSHA cited the employer for failing to ensure the worker in the lift had a body belt with a lanyard attached to the boom or the basket and failing to take an aerial lift out of service, one with a frayed cable that had not been rebuilt in 15 years.

Read the News Release

Florida Roofing Contractor Failed to Provide Workers Fall Protection

Chris Sawdo Construction LLC, in Middleburg, Fla., has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for one willful and three serious safety violations for exposing workers to fall hazards. OSHA cited the employer for allowing workers to wear unanchored safety harnesses, not providing stairs or a ladder for access between elevations, and failing to set up a roof access ladder. The inspection began in May when OSHA officials observed that employees doing roofing work at a residence in St. Augustine were working without fall protection. Penalties total $60,500.

Read the News Release

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