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Our 150th Issue! June 21, 2012
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The US and the ILO

United States Department of Labor: 1913-2013 - 100 Years. Then, Now, Next.

On October 29, 1919, under the Chairmanship of the first U.S. Secretary of Labor, William B. Wilson, the first Conference of the International Labor Organization — known as the ILO — was convened in Washington, D.C. The difficulties encountered in

Delegates to the first International Labor Conference, held in Washington, D.C. at the Pan American Union in October, 1919. Front row, center, is Secretary of Labor William B. Wilson, while AFL President Samuel Gompers, wearing the hat, is at left. Click on the image for a larger photo and caption.

holding the conference in the U.S. were formidable, and only the deep interest and constant intercession of President Woodrow Wilson, who became incapacitated before the conference began, enabled it to be held at all. The Peace Treaty had not been ratified by the Congress and was currently a matter of debate. There was considerable opposition to the U.S. hosting an international conference that had developed out of the controversial Peace Treaty. But the ILO was off to a successful beginning anyway. The Governing Body was constituted, an eminent Frenchman, Albert Thomas, was chosen to direct the organization and six major labor conventions were agreed upon, including one for an eight-hour day. U.S. relations with the ILO were clouded, however. Despite the fact that an American President (Wilson) was a major figure in the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations (which gave birth to the ILO); an American labor leader, Samuel Gompers, presided over the Labor Commission that wrote the ILO constitution; and a future U.S. president, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin Roosevelt, aided with the physical arrangements for the founding conference in Washington, D.C., the U.S. would not officially become a member of the ILO for another 15 years.

SAG-AFTRA Leaders at Labor

Secretary Solis met with Roberta Reardon, Co-President, SAG-AFTRA and Ned Vaughn, Executive Vice President, SAG-AFTRA. Click on the image for a larger photo.

March 30, 2012, was an important day in the history of the trade union movement: two separate unions, the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists merged. Now, as one union, SAG-AFTRA represents more than 160,000 actors, announcers, broadcasters, journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other media professionals. SAG-AFTRA members are the faces and voices that entertain and inform America and the world. Earlier this week, the union's Co-President Roberta Reardon and Executive Vice President Ned Vaughn paid a visit to the Labor Department to brief Secretary Solis about their unification plans. Both leaders have worked extensively with the department in the past. Reardon, a strong proponent of equal pay for women, is a vocal advocate for the Women's Bureau. Vaughn has been active with the department's Veterans Employment and Training Service, especially on "Got Your 6," which is the entertainment industry's contribution to "Joining Forces" — the administration's national initiative focused on providing opportunities and support for service members and their families.

Promoting Technical Education

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis meets with Nick Pinchuck, president of Snap-On Tools; Andy Ginger, chairman & CEO and ETA's Jane Oates. Click on the photo for a larger image and detailed caption.

Partnerships between the business community and technical education providers are essential to delivering trained workers with critical skills into the workforce. Secretary Solis met with Nick Pinchuk, chairman and CEO of Snap-On Tools, this week to discuss workforce development, including the important role of technical education. Snap-On Tools collaborates with Gateway Technical College in Kenosha, Wis., to create and deliver courses that meet the needs of area employers. The partnership serves as a model for prospective community college-business collaborations around the country.

Workplace Safety Issues

Dr. Michaels answers questions at the OSHA NACOSH Meeting. View the Slideshow for more images and detailed captions.

Established under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health has advised the secretaries of labor and health and human services for nearly 40 years on worker safety issues. The committee and work groups met this week in Washington, D.C., to discuss injury and illness prevention, recordkeeping, hazard communications, the new campaign to prevent falls and emerging issues. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels and National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health Director Dr. John Howard provided updates on their agencies workplace safety and health efforts.

Speaking for Equality

Secrtary Solis gave her remarks at Wednesday's MALDEF Gala in Washington, D.C. View the Slideshow for more images and detailed captions.

The Awards Gala of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund was held on June 20 honoring Rep. Charles A. Gonzalez of Texas, Judge Vanessa Ruiz of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, and journalist Charlie Ericksen, founder of Hispanic Link News Service, for their work and achievements. Secretary Solis spoke at the gala of her efforts as a state senator to pass a bill similar to the proposed DREAM Act and the setbacks she and fellow advocates faced. "It was about opportunity and access for Latinos in every sector of our society. So we kept working. We kept growing," she said, commending audience members for their successes. Other notable attendees at the event included labor leader Dolores Huerta and actor Jordi Vilasuso, the master of ceremonies.

Hip-Hop Congress at Labor

Secretary visited ODEP's Kathy Martinez during the Hip Hop Congress meeting. Click on the photo for a larger image.

Secretary Solis and Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy, recently welcomed three leaders from the Hip Hop Congress to the department. They were joined by Sue Swenson, deputy assistant secretary at the Department of Education's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. The Hip Hop Congress is a nonprofit organization based in the California Bay Area with more than 50 chapters around the world. It provides opportunities for artists to develop their creativity and careers while simultaneously serving their communities and engaging in social activism. "The Hip Hop Congress can be critical partners in getting disadvantaged youth connected to programs like Job Corps and Youth Build," said Secretary Solis. The meeting included a discussion of ODEP's work and a review of the new "Skills to Pay the Bills" curriculum.

Making the Nest Egg Last

EBSA's Phyllis Borzi addresses the attendees of SPARK. Click on the photo for a larger image and detailed caption.

The department is continuing to research and develop ways to help workers make their pension savings last throughout retirement, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employee Benefits Security Phyllis C. Borzi said in remarks to retirement plan professionals this week in Washington. She said the department will soon propose a way for workers to see lifetime income illustrations in their pension statements. The illustrations would allow workers to gauge the amount of money they might need in retirement and to accordingly adjust their savings habits and investment strategies, Borzi said. In addition, the department is studying ways to make it easier for plan sponsors to offer annuity-like payments from pension accounts, including individual 401(K) accounts. That initiative is taking shape and could be out within the year, she said.

Veterans Advisory Committee

VETS's Junior Ortiz briefs panel members on latest DOL initiatives to help veterans. View the Slideshow for more images and detailed captions.

The Advisory Committee on Veterans Employment, Training and Employer Outreach met June 18 at the department to discuss best practices and innovations to help veterans reintegrate into the civilian workforce. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Veterans' Employment and Training Service Ismael Ortiz, Jr., briefed the panel on the latest departmental initiatives to help veterans, including the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program, which offers educational help for unemployed veterans. Committee member J. Michael Haynie made a presentation on how employers could better meet the needs of military personnel looking to translate their service skills and experience into gainful civilian employment. A discussion on how tax credits could be changed to help small businesses employ even more returning veterans was lead by Committee member Richard M. Jones

Southeast Liaison Group

Earlier this month the Southeast Industry Liaison Group held its first regional conference in Charlotte, N.C. ILG meetings offer an opportunity for open dialogue between federal contractors and the department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. The meeting featured 18 sessions covering topics such as recordkeeping, compensation, affirmative action and outreach to veterans and individuals with disabilities. Attendees included more than 130 federal contractors, and 25 representatives from the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and other government agencies.

Hispanic Leadership Forum

Secretary Solis delivers her remarks to the GE Hispanic Forum. View the Slideshow for more images and detailed captions.

The 2012 Hispanic Executive Leadership Symposium sponsored by the GE Hispanic Forum was held at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington D.C., on June 15 with Secretary Solis providing the keynote address. The event's theme — "Connecting for Growth: Lead. Learn. Build." — provided an opportunity to hear perspectives from business and Hispanic leaders on the economy, technology, and leadership. "As leaders in our community, we have an obligation to make sure that Latinos are thriving at all levels, and in every sector of our society," said Secretary Solis. "We know that our American family will only be as strong as our growing Latino community." The secretary was joined at the forum by General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt, GE Vice Chairman Keith Sherin, Inter-American Development Bank President Luis Alberto Moreno, Synergy Group President German Efromvoich and more than 200 senior Hispanic executives, legislators and educators from the United States and Latin America.

Focusing on Revitalization of General Motors Properties

Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers Director Jay Williams was the keynote speaker June 20 at the Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response Trust Open House. The meeting, at the historic Willow Run Plant in Ypsilanti, Mich., brought together public and private sector economic development officials working to redevelop former General Motors properties. Following the speech, Williams joined Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, Environmental Protection Agency; Mayor Dayne Walling of Flint, Mich.; and Bruce Rasher, RACER's redevelopment manager, for a panel discussion.

Reducing Worker Injuries

Speaking at the 2012 American Industrial Hygiene Association conference in Indianapolis this week, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels discussed a landmark new study that found OSHA's inspections not only prevent workers from getting hurt on the job, they also save billions of dollars for employers through reduced workers compensation costs. Michaels cited the study published in the journal Science, "Randomized Government Safety and Inspections Reduce Worker Injuries With No Detectable Job Loss." "OSHA doesn't kill jobs, OSHA stops jobs from killing workers," Michaels said. At the conference, OSHA's Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor Richard Fairfax became the 2012 recipient of the AIHA's William Steiger Memorial Award and OSHA's Atlanta Regional Administrator Cindy Coe was honored with the Alice Hamilton Award.

Videos Voted by Public Feature Ability and Talent

Congratulations to the winners! Thanks to all who entered.

The Office of Disability Employment Policy has announced two runner-up winners selected by the public in the Campaign for Disability Employment's 2012 "What Can YOU Do?" video contest. The first runner-up video, "Hire Me for My Ability," was submitted by Developmental Disabilities Service Organization Employment Plus, in Sacramento, Calif. The second runner-up video, "Yes I Can," was submitted by students at the Henry Viscardi School in Albertson, N.Y. "These wonderful videos reflect the diversity of skills people with disabilities offer and challenge common misconceptions about disability and employment – after all, at work, it's what people can do that matters," said Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy.

Alliance in Houston

Volunteer trainers proudly display a sign that reads 'Houston, TX, 791 workers trained.' View the Slideshow for more images and detailed captions.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has partnered with the Hispanic Contractors Association de Tejas of Dallas to promote the safety and health of construction workers in the greater Houston area. Nearly 800 workers completed OSHA's 10-hour marathon training, in English and Spanish, on June 16. The course includes information on how to file a complaint, OSHA's inspection process, and the standards for mitigating fall, electrical, scaffolding and excavation hazards.

Upcoming Deadlines & Events

Open Funding Opportunities

CFBNP — Central Florida Job Clubs & Career Ministries On the Front Lines of Getting Americans Back to Work

EBSA — COBRA Compliance Workshop

EBSA — Health Benefits Laws Compliance Assistance Seminar

EBSA — HIPAA and Affordable Care Act Compliance Workshop

OASAM — Disability Job Fair

OFCCP — The ABC's of the AAP

OFCCP — Analyzing Personnel Activity Data

OFCCP — Building Community and Veteran Partnerships

OFCCP — Building Partnerships for the Community

OFCCP — Community Based Education & Outreach

OFCCP — Compliance Assistance Seminar

OFCCP — Compliance Assistance Seminar for Construction Contractors

OFCCP — Developing Written Affirmative Action Plans

OFCCP — Implementing an Effective Affirmative Action Program: Obtaining Meaningful Results

OFCCP — OFCCP and Napa Valley College Veterans Conference

OFCCP — Maintaining Applicant Flow Data

OFCCP — Supply and Service AAP Seminar for Small and New Contractors

OFCCP — Technical Assistance Seminar

OFCCP — Warriors to the Workforce

OLMS — Compliance Seminar

OSHA — Stakeholder Meeting to Help Assess Effectiveness of State Plans

WHD — Fair Labor Standards Act Seminar at the Indiana Latino Expo

WHD — Family and Medical Leave Act Webinar

WHD — Understanding Special Minimum Wages under Section 14(c) of the FLSA

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What's New

Solis Taps Meteorologists to Help Save Workers' Lives

Learn more about the heat Campaign.

The first day of summer roared into Washington, D.C., with a burst of extreme heat, with temperatures that approached triple digits. The heat wave provided a fitting background for a June 20 call between Secretary Solis and nearly 70 television and radio meteorologists from across the country to talk about OSHA's Heat Illness Prevention Campaign. Secretary Solis was joined by Acting Deputy Director of the National Weather Service Steven Cooper, NWS meteorologist Eli Jacks, and Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. Following remarks from Solis, NWS officials discussed the impacts of the current heat wave on much of the country, the extended heat outlook for the summer (it's going to be hot, and it's going to stay hot), and their recent inclusion of worker safety information in all severe weather alerts. Michaels fielded questions about life-saving information that OSHA has available to educate workers and employers about the dangers of extreme heat, highlighting those that protect vulnerable and hard-to-reach workers.

Hazard Alert: Worker Exposure to Silica During Hydraulic Fracturing

Silica dust is being monitored by a worker conducting sand transfer operations. (Photo by NIOSH). Click on the photo for a larger image.

A hazard alert on ensuring that employers in hydraulic fracturing operations take appropriate steps to protect workers from silica exposure was issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health on June 21. The alert follows a cooperative study by NIOSH and industry partners that identified overexposure to silica as a health hazard to workers conducting hydraulic fracturing operations. Workers who breathe silica day after day are at greater risk of developing silicosis, a disease in which lung tissue reacts to trapped silica particles, causing inflammation and scarring, and reducing the lungs' ability to take in oxygen. Silica also can cause lung cancer and has been linked to other diseases, such as tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney and autoimmune disease. The alert describes how a combination of engineering controls, work practices, protective equipment and product substitution, where feasible, along with worker training, can protect workers who are exposed to silica.

$15 Million Awarded to Help Homeless Veterans

Approximately 8,600 homeless veterans nationwide will benefit from 64 grants totaling more than $15 million that were announced by Secretary Solis on June 18. The grants, awarded under the department's Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program, are aimed at providing veterans with job training to help them succeed in civilian careers. "Today, the Department of Labor is taking an important step to help homeless veterans reintegrate into the American labor force," said Secretary Solis. "This is a complicated challenge that requires an 'all hands on deck' response. Our grantees span communities across the country, from the District of Columbia to Puerto Rico, and we salute them for their commitment to assist those who've served." HVRP is the only federal program that focuses exclusively on ensuring the employment of veterans who are homeless.

News You Can Use

In Your Time of Need, Sometimes You Just Need Time

A new guide to Family Medical Leave is available. Click to read the guide.

Did you know that there's a law allowing you to take leave for a serious health condition or to take care of a family member and still keep your job? It's called the Family and Medical Leave Act, and it entitles eligible workers of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons and to keep their group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if they had not taken leave. If that sounds like a mouthful, a new plain-language employee's guide to the FMLA is available to help you better understand it. For example, an uncle who is caring for his young niece and nephew when their single parent has been called to active military duty could qualify, or an employee who is co-parenting a child with his or her same sex partner may exercise a right to FMLA leave. To learn about how the law could benefit you and your family, register for an upcoming webinar where an FMLA expert will answer your questions.

National News

Helping Employers Avoid Lay Offs

The department this week issued guidance to state agencies responsible for Unemployment Insurance on how to implement or expand short-term compensation programs, commonly known as "work sharing." The June 18 guidance, Secretary Solis said, "will provide more flexibility to workers and employers so they may more efficiently and effectively weather the ups and downs of the economy." Work sharing allows employees to keep their jobs and helps employers to avoid laying off their trained workforces during economic downturns by reducing the hours of work for an entire group of affected workers. Workers affected by reduced hours can have their wages compensated with a portion of their weekly unemployment compensation payments. The guidance provides detailed information about a new federal definition of short-time compensation — which includes more worker protections such as maintenance of health insurance and retirement benefits — as well as how states currently operating short-time compensation programs can transition to the new definition.

Department Awards Nearly $50 million for RExO

Nearly $50 million in grants were awarded June 21 by the department under the Re-Integration of Ex-Offenders initiative. The grants will go to 25 community-based organizations that will provide job training, education and support services to youth and young adults returning from the juvenile justice system. The grants will help vulnerable youth receive the training and support they need to gain valuable job skills and improve their long-term employment prospects and chances of staying out of prison. "These young people deserve a chance to turn their lives around," Secretary Solis said. The department awarded the grants through a competitive process, and a list of the grantees and award amounts are in the department's news release.

Job Accommodation Network Grant Available

On June 19, the department announced the availability of a $2.5 million grant to fund a cooperative agreement to manage and operate the Job Accommodation Network, a national technical assistance center that provides free and confidential consulting services to facilitate the employment and retention of workers with disabilities. For more than 20 years, JAN has been the primary resource for accommodations expertise, delivering effective solutions that benefit employers and employees. "Employers and job seekers with disabilities need to understand that accommodations can create a work environment that enables a qualified individual with a disability to participate in the job application process and perform the essential functions of a job," said Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy.

International Scene

Messages to Empower African Women Entrepreneurs

AWEP participants, officials from ILAB and Women's Bureau take a photo from the scenic roof of the Frances Perkins building. View the Slideshow for more images and detailed captions.

More than 50 women entrepreneurs from the agriculture, textile, and home décor industries in sub-Saharan Africa attended a briefing on "Women's Empowerment" last week hosted by the department's Bureau of International Labor Affairs. The women were visiting the United States to participate in the third annual African Women's Entrepreneurship Program exchange with national business leaders, policymakers, and women's economic empowerment advocates. During the June 15 briefing, the group heard presentations from ILAB's Acting Associate Deputy Undersecretary Eric Biel and Special Assistant Kathy Schalch, as well as featured speaker Latifa Lyles, acting director of the Women's Bureau. The Entrepreneurship Program is a State Department initiative launched in July 2010 to identify and build networks of women entrepreneurs across sub-Saharan Africa who are poised to own, run and operate small and medium businesses.

It Happened on the Hill

In Service of Returning Vets

As veterans leave the service and enter the civilian labor force, the department's Veterans' Employment and Training Service is standing by to ensure their transition is a smooth one. On June 21, John K. Moran, deputy assistant secretary of labor for VETS, testified before the House Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, Committee on Veterans Affairs, in support of pending legislation that would protect employment rights of returning veterans and a legislative proposal that would provide more opportunities for veterans to leverage the skills and training in pursuit of civilian careers. "Every day, we are reminded of the tremendous sacrifices made by our service men and women, and by their families," said Moran. "One way that we can honor those sacrifices is by providing them with the best possible services, protections and programs our nation has to offer."

DOL Working for You

Troops Get Employment Help in Kuwait

James Finley. Click on the image for a larger photo and caption.

James Finley's 9,000-mile journey to Kuwait to help National Guard personnel transition back to civilian life was supported in part by the department's funding of the Jobs for Veterans State Grant program. Finley undertook his trek, he said, because "we have an unemployment problem that cannot wait for soldiers to return before we decide to help them." An Army veteran, Finley is Minnesota's director of Veterans Employment Programs and his activities are covered by JVSG funds. He was part of a team of employment and educational experts, as well as corporate recruiters from U.S. Bank, Target, Best Buy and other companies who visited three military bases in Kuwait. They helped soldiers develop resumes, sharpen interview skills, and prepare for job searches in line with their military experience. About 1,000 soldiers took part in the classes, Finley said. He estimated about 60 soldiers were hired by employers on the spot and had jobs waiting for their return stateside.

YouthBuild Program Provides Blue-Collar Training

Manuel Ramos. Click on photo for a larger image.

Manuel Ramos is on a path to a good job in the construction trades, thanks to the department's YouthBuild program. Ramos is about to graduate from Rancho Cielo, a California nonprofit that provides educational and vocational training for at-risk youth. Ramos, who has also earned his GED and his high school diploma at Rancho Cielo, is plying his trade by helping to build student housing units on its 100-acre campus. "The work is hard but it is also fun," Ramos said. He hopes to land a construction job when he graduates but also has his sights set on eventually becoming an architect. Trish Alcocer, director of Rancho Cielo YouthBuild, said many students like Ramos take first aid, CPR and safety courses and earn homebuilding and green construction certifications that make them "job ready."

DOL in Action

Assistance for Manufacturing Workers in California and Wisconsin

The department awarded a $5,990,725 National Emergency Grant supplement to continue re-employment services for more than 4,800 workers affected by the closure of New United Motors Manufacturing Inc. plant in Fremont, Calif., and 39 suppliers to NUMMI. In Wisconsin, the department awarded a $2,055,188 grant to assist about 755 workers affected by the closure of four companies in Wisconsin's manufacturing sector: Joerns Healthcare Inc. of Stevens Point; SNE Enterprises Inc. of Mosinee; Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. of Two Rivers; and Wausau Paper Printing and Writing LLC of Brokaw.

Norfolk Southern Ordered to Pay $800,000 to Injured Workers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has found that Norfolk Southern Railway Co. violated the whistleblower protection provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act and ordered the company to pay $802,168.70 in damages to whistleblowers in Kentucky, Pennsylvania and South Carolina. OSHA's investigations found that the company continues to retaliate against employees for reporting work-related injuries and has effectively created a chilling effect in the railroad industry. "Firing workers for reporting an injury is not only illegal, it also endangers all workers," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels.

CEO of Defunct Electrical Contractor to Restore $570,000

The department reached an agreement with the former president and CEO of Journey Electrical Technologies Inc., a defunct Southern California electrical contractor, to restore $570,983 to the company's 401(k) plan. Mark Dell Donne of San Clemente has agreed to restore $472,235 to the plan. A fiduciary of the plan, Dell Donne, already has restored $98,748 to the plan's accounts. The agreement resulted from an investigation by the Employee Benefits Security Administration that determined elective contributions, loan repayments and some wages for work performed on public projects were deposited in the company's general funds instead of the employees' 401(k) plan accounts. The plan had 105 participants and a balance of more than $1.9 million as of Dec. 31, 2010.

Jurisdictional Dispute Win for OSHA in Whistleblower Case

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has won a jurisdictional dispute in federal court against Renaissance Arts and Education Inc., doing business as Manatee School for the Arts in Palmetto, Fla. The dispute relates to the determination by OSHA that the charter school intentionally terminated a worker's employment for reporting work-related safety hazards — activities that are protected by whistleblower protection provisions.

Tribe Mediterranean Foods Cited Following Death of Worker

Tribe Mediterranean Foods, a subsidiary of Nestle SA, that manufactures Tribe brand hummus products, has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 18 alleged violations of workplace safety standards following the death of a worker at its Taunton, Mass., production plant. A contract employee who was cleaning and sanitizing a machine used in the hummus manufacturing process was caught, pulled into the machine and crushed to death between two rotating augers. OSHA found that Tribe Mediterranean Foods had not trained the deceased worker and six other workers who cleaned plant machinery on hazardous energy control or "lockout/tagout" procedures. OSHA has issued seven willful citations for each training violation, one for each exposed worker. Additional citations were issued for electrical, fall, machine guarding and other training and lockout/tagout hazards.

Ohio Long-Term Care Facility Sued for Back Wages

The department has filed a federal lawsuit seeking back wages and damages for 89 current and former workers of Northridge Health Center in North Ridgeville, Ohio. Defendants named include the facility's operator, Altercare Inc., and director Robert Wickes. The suit resulted from an investigation of the long-term care facility conducted by the Wage and Hour Division, which found that back wages totaling $60,909 are owed to health-care workers due to violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Liquidated damages equal to the amount of back wages owed also are being sought for the workers. As a result of the repeated violations, the department has assessed civil money penalties totaling $62,411.

OSHA Stand-Down Focuses on Crane Hazards in Florida

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration joined several construction organizations throughout Florida to raise awareness about crane and rigging safety requirements during a stand-down on June 19. During a stand-down, all work is stopped and safety meetings are held. The stand-down followed the signing of the Florida Crane Alliance, which illustrates the willingness of construction employers, associations and crane companies to assume responsibility and commit to construction worker safety.

Aid is for Workers in Four States

About 600 workers affected by layoffs and closings at 11 companies in Massachusetts and one in Connecticut across a variety of industries will continue to receive employment-related services under a $203,555 National Emergency Grant increment. The grant, awarded to the Massachusetts Department of Workforce Development, is being used for training and support services to be offered in conjunction with other employment-related services some of the workers are receiving under the Trade Adjustment Assistance. In New Jersey, a $2,583,093 National Emergency Grant increment will provide about 960 workers affected by layoffs from pharmaceutical companies with continued employment-related services. A $2,118,609 National Emergency Grant increment was awarded to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development to provide employment-related services to approximately 960 workers impacted by the closure of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. in Union City, Tenn.

Pawtucket River Bridge Contractor Faulted on Safeguards

The general contractor for the reconstruction of the Pawtucket River Bridge has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for alleged willful and serious violations of safety standards. S&R/Pihl, a joint venture LLC, faces $60,900 in proposed fines following an inspection by OSHA's Providence Area Office. OSHA found that S&R/Pihl did not have procedures and equipment in place for the prompt rescue of employees working at heights of up to 90 feet. The contractor's emergency response plan did not ensure that proper rescue equipment and trained personnel were readily available if needed. The employer was also cited for a lack of fall protection for employees working atop the bridge deck.

Former Ohio Union Officer Sentenced in Embezzlement Case

A former Cincinnati union leader who stole more than $758,000 from the union she founded has been sentenced to 51 months of jail time and three years of supervised release. Diana Frey, who led Cincinnati Dedicated and Organized Employees from 2005 until last year, was ordered to repay the full amount she embezzled. An Office of Labor-Management Standards investigation revealed that Frey used the money for her family's rental properties, a vacation condo, an in-ground swimming pool at her home, meals, travel, and pampering for her pets. The union consists of approximately 800 middle managers, professional and technical workers in the city of Cincinnati. Frey pled guilty to one count of wire fraud last fall.

Two Workers Suffer Finger Amputations at Ohio Plant

Truck manufacturer Stahl/Scott Fetzer Co. has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for six safety violations — including one willful — after a worker had several fingers amputated while operating an unguarded press break March 19 at the Wooster, Ohio, plant. After OSHA had initiated an inspection, a second amputation injury occurred April 19 at the plant. Proposed penalties total $90,000.

Investigation Found Tacoma, Wash., Hospital Violated FMLA

St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma has paid $34,302 to a former employee after an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division in Seattle found that the 343-bed regional hospital violated the Family and Medical Leave Act. The hospital had, during an internal investigation, requested copies of drug prescriptions and medication bottles from an employee who previously had provided proper medical certification for two separate serious health conditions. Based on information obtained from that request, the employee was later terminated. St. Joseph Medical Center agreed to maintain future compliance with the FMLA by ensuring that employees will not be discouraged from, or discriminated or retaliated against for asserting their rights under the FMLA.

Penalties Proposed for Marine Service Company in Memphis

Cummings Marine Service Inc. in Memphis, Tenn., has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 11 safety and health violations primarily related to the company's failure to address previously cited hazards. Two failure-to-abate and two repeat violations involve failing to develop and implement a written hazard communication program, not providing training on hazardous chemicals, and not securing acetylene cylinders from being knocked over. Proposed penalties total $89,420. The company was also received a willful, five serious and one other-than-serious violation.

New York Restaurant to Pay Penalties for Recurring Wage Violations

Route 112 Restaurant Corp., doing business as Metropolis Diner, a Medford, N.Y., restaurant, and its owner will pay $60,535 in back wages and interest to 18 employees and $7,068 in civil money penalties and interest to the government, according to the terms of a contempt consent judgment obtained by the department. In September 2010, following an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division, the defendants signed a consent judgment in which they agreed to pay $43,971 to 16 employees who had not been paid properly for overtime. Department officials subsequently learned that the defendants not only continued to fail to pay employees the required overtime pay and keep the required payroll records after the settlement, but also made the employees sign documents that resulted in them having to return, or "kick back," some of those recovered wages.

Inspection at Alabama Motor Express Turns Up Safety Violations

Alabama Motor Express Inc., a trucking company from Ashford, Ala., has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 17 safety violations following a March inspection. The violations involve failing to perform a personal protective equipment hazard assessment, not providing training for forklift operators and improper use of electrical equipment. Proposed penalties total $56,700.

Employment Assistance to Lummi Nation

A $2,542,924 National Emergency Grant increment will provide employment-related services to 443 workers who are members of the Lummi Nation affected by fishing industry layoffs in Bellingham, Wash. The grant provides dislocated worker services, including literacy education, basic skills training, career counseling, resume writing, on-the-job training and preparation for professional certifications.

West Virginia Lumber Company Cited for Noise, Safety Hazards

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited lumber manufacturer Shingleton Timber & Trucking Inc. for noise and safety hazards at its Augusta, W.Va., facility. OSHA's inspection, conducted as part of the agency's National Emphasis Program on Amputations, found four repeat, three serious and one other-than-serious violation and resulted in $49,500 in proposed penalties.

Fines Proposed for Hazards at Manhattan Work Site

Core Continental Construction LLC has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 13 alleged violations of workplace safety standards in Manhattan. The Flushing, N.Y., contractor faces $94,380 in proposed fines, chiefly for electrical and fall hazards, following an inspection by OSHA's Manhattan Area Office. OSHA found several hazards similar to those cited in 2008 and 2010 following inspections of Core Continental Construction work sites in Flushing and Manhattan. These recurring conditions include employees exposed to falls of 15 feet to the sidewalk from a scaffold not fully planked and lacking fall protection.

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