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September 27, 2012
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Winner of PRSA's 2012 THOTH Award and Ragan's PR Daily Award 2012 - Best Electronic Newsletter

DOL's Global Trailblazer

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

Chicago Lawyer J. Ernest Wilkins, son of a Missouri Baptist preacher, was one of the first African-Americans in U.S. history to attain the title of assistant secretary in the federal government. In March, 1954 President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed him Assistant Secretary of Labor for International Affairs.

Secretary Durkin served for only eight months before leaving the department. He was the "plumber" of President Eisenhower's cabinet dubbed nine millionaires and a plumber. Click on the image for a larger version.

A few months later, with Labor Secretary James Mitchell and Under Secretary Arthur Larson out of town on speechmaking trips, Wilkins became the first African American to attend a White House Cabinet meeting as the representative of a department. He later served on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.


Reaching out to the AAPI Community

Secretary Solis visits Boat People SOS in Falls Church where Duc Truong, instructor, conducts the nail salon safety training. View the slideshow for more images and captions.

Boat People SOS hosted Secretary Solis Sept. 27 in Falls Church, Va., for a nail salon training facility tour, followed by a roundtable discussion with Asian American and Pacific Islander community leaders. Boat People SOS, a national Vietnamese community organization, recently received an Occupational Safety and Health Administration Susan Harwood Training Grant to educate nail salon industry employers and workers regarding chemical hazards. During the visit, Solis thanked Boat People SOS for their efforts to train, inform and empower workers in the AAPI community.

View the Slideshow
Learn More About Harwood Grants


Building an Education Nation

Tom Brokaw and Secretary Solis discuss the skills today's employers are looking for during Solis' appearance at

What are the skills today's employers are looking for? How do people get them? And what is the U.S. Department of Labor's role? Those were just three of the big questioned posed to Secretary Hilda Solis during her appearance at "Education Nation" in New York City earlier this week. Education Nation is NBC News' year-round initiative to engage the country in a solutions-focused conversation about the state of education in America. During the 2012 Education Summit on Tuesday, held at the New York Public Library, Solis sat down with NBC News special correspondent Tom Brokaw for an in-depth discussion on ways to close the skills gap and foster innovative public-private partnerships. "As I travel around the country, I hear from businesses that there is a mismatch of skills, that they are not finding people with the technological foundation to be able to function in the changing world of work. Educational institutions, government and business all have a role to play, " said Solis.


Connecticut Community College Hosts Latino Roundtable

Secretary Solis talks about Labor Department job training programs available across the country and encourages the audience to learn more about the opportunities and to share the information with the community. View the slideshow for more images.

Secretary Solis had the opportunity to discuss job training and the importance of obtaining advanced education with more than 70 Latino leaders, employers and students during a roundtable discussion held September 21 in Hartford, Conn. The conversation was kicked off by Hartford Mayor Pedro E. Segarra and hosted by Capital Community College. The venue was especially appropriate since Solis announced that the school was a member of a consortium of seven Connecticut community colleges awarded a $12 million grant for student training in health care and life sciences. "With this funding, schools can develop training programs that will help grow the most promising local industries and invest in staff and educational resources to provide students with access to free, digital learning materials," she said. The funds are part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grants program.

View the Slideshow


Employment Resource for Veterans

Veterans looking for employment opportunities now have another resource at their fingertips. The Employment and Training Administration recently updated the Veterans ReEmployment portal on CareerOneStop.org to better serve the needs of veterans and military members transitioning to civilian life. Updates include new information and resources to help veterans find employment, explore training options and access veteran and civilian benefits. The new resources serve transitioning veterans, veterans with disabilities, female veterans, workforce and career professionals working with veterans and businesses recruiting veterans. The Veterans ReEmployment Web site also allows veterans to search for jobs that utilize their military experience; learn about unemployment insurance; veterans' benefits and other assistance; obtain job search tips specific to veterans; and find contact information for local and national veterans' resources.

Visit Veterans ReEmployment


New Systems Will Facilitate Foreign Labor Certification Filing

Good news for employers process H-2A and H-2B foreign labor certification applications: the Employment and Training Administration announced the impending release of two new web-based tools that will increase the ease, accessibility and transparency of the filing process. "The labor certification process plays a crucial role in ensuring that employers have access to temporary foreign workers when needed, without adversely affecting U.S. workers," said Jane Oates, assistant secretary of labor for employment and training. The H-2B module is scheduled for release on Oct. 15, 2012. The H-2A module is scheduled for release on Dec. 10, 2012. Training webinars will be held Oct. 1 and 4, and Nov. 26 and 29.

Read the News Release
Read the Federal Register Notice
Learn More About the Filing Systems
Learn More about the Webinars
Read About Foreign Labor Certifications


DOL, Comcast Team-up to Connect

As more job postings and job training programs move online, it is crucial that these resources remain accessible to everyone. That's why in July the department teamed up with the Federal Communications Commission, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Connect2Compete coalition to connect underserved communities to online job resources. On Monday, that effort gained another partner with the announcement of Comcast's Internet Essentials program that will provide low-cost internet service, as well as discounted computer hardware, to families who are eligible for free or reduced priced school lunches through the National School Lunch Program. Comcast will also provide information about digital literacy services to jobseekers through American Job Centers in the 39 states where Comcast offers service.

Learn More About Internet Essentials
Learn More About Connect2Compete


ODEP Teams With BIZ and EEOC

More than two decades after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, there is still work to be done. Close to 250 employers, attorneys, human resource professionals and business owners met last week in Miami, Fla. for an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission seminar to learn more about the laws and policies that ensure employment opportunity and protections for people with disabilities. In her keynote address, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez reminded seminar participants that, like other pieces of civil rights legislation, the ADA works to ensure a more inclusive America. "Its passage paved the way for millions of Americans to more fully participate in all aspects of community life," she said. She challenged business leaders to foster a work environment that is flexible and open to the talents of all qualified individuals, including those with disabilities; to integrate people with disabilities into leadership positions; and to aim for a more inclusive America.


Appointments to Construction Safety and Health Advisory Committee

The Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health, enacted under the Construction Safety Act, has for nearly 40 years advised the assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health on construction standards and policy matters. This week, Secretary Solis announced the appointment of four new members and re-appointment of two current members. ACCSH members serve two-year terms and represent the interests of the public, employers, workers and the government. The 15-member committee meets at least twice a year.

Read the News Release
Learn More About ACCSH


Talking Autos in Texas

The importance and future of the auto industry was the focus of the 19th Annual Laredo Manufacturing and Logistics Symposium held last week in Laredo, Texas. Jay Williams, Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers executive director, addressed the symposium and later led a roundtable discussion with members of the Texas A&M University community including President R. Bowen Loftin, Provost Karen L. Watson, professors and students.


Hawaii and OSHA Sharing Oversight for Worker Safety

To bridge a gap in training and staff capacity in the state, Hawaii's state occupational safety and health agency last week finalized an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration to temporarily share oversight for worker safety and health in the state. The agreement, signed by Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie and OSHA Regional Administrator Ken Nishiyama Atha, outlines additional mandatory training opportunities for HIOSHA staff, temporary federal jurisdiction over some industries, and other elements aimed at returning the Hawaii state plan program to compliance with federal standards. This agreement follows a 2010 Federal Annual Monitoring and Evaluation report issued by OSHA that raised concerns over the state program.


Job Clubs at the White House

Secretary Solis addresses the White House Job Clubs Forum that included job club leaders from 23 states.  View the slideshow for more images and captions

The White House hosted Job Club leaders last week at a forum on job search support groups and their partnerships with the public workforce system. Secretary Solis addressed the group of more than 100 representing job clubs and employment ministries from 23 states, remarking, "I've been so impressed by what you're doing with job clubs; the communities you're building, the fellowship you're creating, and the dignity, hope and faith you inspire every day." The department's Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships helped organize the forum in coordination with the White House. Panelists discussed the role of job clubs within congregations and communities in getting Americans back to work. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Jane Oates moderated a panel of local workforce agency leaders who discussed how their partnerships with job clubs result in stronger outcomes for local job seekers and employers.

View the Slideshow
Read the Blog Post
Learn More About Job Clubs


Teaming Up with California to Educate Garment Employers

Wage and Hour Division staff brief garment manufacturers on the Fair Labor Standards Act at the State LETF and U.S. DOL Garment Factory Forum sponsored by the Korean Apparel Manufacturers Association in Los Angeles on Sept, 25. Click for a larger image.

Wage and Hour Division staff briefed 50 garment manufacturers on the Fair Labor Standards Act during a "Garment Factory Forum" sponsored by the Korean Apparel Manufacturers Association in Los Angeles on Sept. 25. The event was part of an ongoing effort by labor stakeholders to educate garment employers on both federal and state labor and tax laws. During the presentation, WHD staff emphasized the importance of monitoring programs for manufacturer's contractors. The event also included a presentation by the California's Labor Enforcement Task Force, with whom the department has a Memorandum of Understanding focused on combating the misclassification of workers.


12-College Consortium Developing Bioscience Training Program

Forsyth Tech biotech students explain to Deputy Secretary of Labor Seth Harris their current lab project. View the slideshow for more images and captions.

Forsyth Technical Community College is leading a nationwide 12-college consortium to develop a state-of-the-art bioscience training program, thanks to a $15 million grant from the department. Deputy Secretary Seth Harris traveled to Winston-Salem, N.C., to see firsthand how Forsyth Tech is bringing industry and educational partners together to develop a standardized curriculum to prepare students for jobs in the bioscience industry. The grant awarded to Forsyth Tech is part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative.

View the Slideshow


Controlling Dust in Coal Mines

Preventing black lung, a debilitating disease caused by overexposure to coal mine dust, is one of the top priorities of Joseph Main, assistant secretary of labor for the Mine Safety and Health. Main carried his message to the Black Lung Clinics Program Meeting Sept. 24 in Bethesda, Md. Speaking before approximately 150 attendees from organizations representing government, health care, labor and academia, Main discussed dust control and using lessons learned to eliminate the disease. "Following the passage of the 1969 Mine Act through the mid-1990s, significant progress was made in lowering dust levels in the nation's mines and, during that period, the incidence of lung disease declined significantly," said Main. "However," he added, "miners are still getting the disease, including younger miners. It devastates miners, families, and communities, and MSHA is seriously committed to addressing the underlying causes of that dreaded illness." Main discussed agency outreach initiatives aimed at reducing the incidence of the disease, including the "End Black Lung--ACT NOW" campaign, workshops, stakeholder meetings and a proposed rule to lower miners' exposure to respirable dust.


The Importance of Education

Labor Department chief economist Dr. Adriana Kugler, center right, discusses the Latino labor force at a conference sponsored by the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting in Orlando, Fla.. Click on the photo for a larger image.

At the invitation of the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting, chief economist Dr. Adriana Kugler traveled to Orlando, Fla, to discuss the state of the Latino labor force in the economic recovery. Speaking to an audience of about 500 professionals, academics and stakeholders, Kugler highlighted the impact of educational attainment, including how individuals with college degrees have fared substantially better in the recovery than those who have not completed high school. She emphasized that Latinos have seen a sharp drop in unemployment, falling more than 1 percent over the last year.


Upcoming Deadlines & Events

Open Funding Opportunities


OFCCP — Construction Evaluations

November 1 — Chicago, IL


OFCCP — Regulation Review

October 11 — Chicago, IL


OFCCP — Women's Workplace Rights

October 18 — Milwaukee, WI


OFCCP — Workforce Solutions Conference and Resource Fair

October 19 — San Francisco, CA


OFCCP — Workplace Accommodations under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

December 5 — Chicago, IL


OSHA — Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health (FACOSH) Meeting

October 18 — Washington, DC


WB — "Why is Green Your Color?" a FREE Green Jobs Forum for Latina Women

October 10 — Philadelphia, PA


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What's New

Labor, Commerce Announce Support to 'Make it in America'

Princeton Tec manufacturing engineer, Douglas Yuen, shows off some of the intricacies of the products made by his company for U.S Labor Secretary, Hilda Solis. View the slideshow for more images and captions.

Like many companies looking to quickly increase capacity, New Jersey-based lighting solution manufacturer Princeton Tec made a choice to ship some of their production to facilities in China. But in search of a faster, cheaper way to grow, it didn't take very long for them to notice problems. So seven years ago, the company returned all production to New Jersey and has since had double-digit growth every year, opened a brand-new facility in West Berlin, N.J., grew exports to 20 percent of their total business, and doubled their workforce to 160 employees. To help other companies and communities benefit from insourcing, Secretary Solis visited Princeton Tec this week to announce the "Make it in America Challenge" – a $40 million grant competition funded by the Employment and Training Administration, along with the Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration and National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership — that will help accelerate business investments in the U.S. Beginning next year, three-year grants will be available to states, cities, nonprofits, colleges and economic development districts to help attract companies that want to build in the U.S. but need a few more resources.

View the Slideshow
Read the News Release
Read the Blog Post

Innovative Training Programs at Community Colleges

From left to right: Deysy Pelaez, Maria Grayson, Mary Ann Tessier, Roger Silva, Sec. Hilda Solis, Kathy Hayes, Loris Edwards, Beverly Wiltshire, and Cathy Devine at the nursing and allied health simulation lab in Norwalk. View the slideshow for more images and captions.

Following last week's announcement of $500 million in grants to nearly 300 community colleges and universities around the country, Secretary Solis is visiting schools to highlight the local impacts of this investment for developing and expanding innovative training programs. "Our goal is simple: We're supporting schools that will work directly with companies to develop training programs that respond to the real needs of employers," Solis said on Sept. 21 when she toured the Norwalk Community College Center for Science, Health and Wellness in Norwalk, Conn. NCC is leading a statewide consortium that received more than $12 million to develop health care and life sciences training programs. On Sept. 24, Solis toured the Applied Technologies Center at Monroe Community College in Rochester, which is leading a statewide consortium that received nearly $15 million to prepare dislocated workers and unemployed veterans for high-quality, high-wage jobs within the advanced manufacturing sector. Later she visited The City University of New York's Borough of Manhattan Community College in New York City, which received $3 million to help expand and improve existing program offerings to create career paths in the health care industry. On Sept. 27, Solis toured Northern Virginia Family Services' Training Futures facility in McLean. Training Futures is a nonprofit partner in a multistate consortium led by Northern Virginia Community College, which received more than $12 million to develop employer-driven career pathways in science, technology, engineering and math. These grants are part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative. While each program reflects the diverse and specific needs of their local communities, they all promote skills development and employment opportunities through partnerships between training providers and local employers.

Learn More About TAACCCT
View the Slideshow


National News

MSHA Awards $1.25 Million in Mine Safety Grants

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has awarded $1.25 million in grants to seven organizations that provide education and training within the mining industry. The Brookwood-Sago grants program was established through a provision in the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006. The grants were named in remembrance of 13 men who died in two explosions at the Jim Walter Resources Inc. No. 5 Mine in Brookwood, Ala., in 2001, and 12 men who died in an explosion at the Sago Mine in Tallsmanville, W.Va., in 2006. The funding will be used to develop and implement training and related materials for mine emergency preparedness, as well as for the prevention of underground mine accidents. "We can never over-emphasize the importance of training, especially in the area of mine emergency response," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for MSHA Joseph Main. "These grants will enable organizations that are dedicated to mine safety to develop programs that may one day save miners' lives."

Read the News Release

Continued Focus on Unemployment Insurance Program Integrity

In an effort to improve performance and integrity of the state unemployment insurance system, the department on Sept. 27 announced grants to 33 states and territories to prevent, detect and recover improper UI payments. "Unemployment Insurance is a critical lifeline for people who lose their jobs through no fault of their own, and the department is responsible for safeguarding the program so that it remains available to those who need it," said Secretary Solis. The grants will build upon earlier efforts to minimize improper payments and hold states accountable for system improvements.

Read the News Release
Learn More About UI Improper Payments

Settlement Reached in Crandall Canyon Collapse

The U.S. Department of Labor has reached a settlement with the operators of the Crandall Canyon Mine and other Murray Energy Corp. subsidiaries, resolving litigation and violations cited after the mine's 2007 collapse, which killed eight miners and an MSHA inspector. According to the settlement, mine operators Genwal Resources and Andalex Resources have agreed to pay in total $949,351 in civil penalties for the Crandall Canyon violations, which includes four contributory and three flagrant violations of the Mine Act. In addition, Murray Energy subsidiaries have agreed to pay $200,649 to settle other violations committed at other mines in Utah. "In this settlement, Genwal Resources and Andalex Resources have acknowledged responsibility for the failures that led to the tragedy at Crandall Canyon," said Solicitor of Labor M. Patricia Smith The settlement was filed Sept. 27 with the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission.

Visit the Single Source Page

New ODEP National Resource Centers to Open

Two new resource centers to support employment for people with disabilities are opening, thanks to grants from the Office of Disability Employment Policy. Through a $1.1 million grant, the National Disability Institute will operate the National Center on Leadership for the Employment and Advancement of People with Disabilities. The department also awarded $950,000 to the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America, to establish the Accessible Technology Action Center, a national resource that will facilitate and promote the use of accessible technology in the hiring, employment, retention and career advancement of individuals with disabilities.

Read the LEAD Center New Release
Read the Accessible Technology Action Center News Release


International Scene

Updated Tools to Combat International Child Labor

Gayle Smith, special assistant to the president and senior director at the National Security Council, discusses the importance of eliminating child labor around the world. View the slideshow for more images and captions.

Secretary Solis drew a direct connection between poverty and exploitation of child laborers during remarks Sept. 26 at Labor Department headquarters announcing updated reports on global child labor and forced labor. She told the audience of more than 125 that poverty is the primary reason why children are forced to work, but that child labor also causes and perpetuates a circle of poverty. Joining Solis were Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa; Gayle Smith, special assistant to the president and senior director at the National Security Council; and Ian Solomon, U.S. executive director of the World Bank. Sen. Harkin declared the reports should be "must reading for governments around the world." Smith and Solomon complimented the department on the development of powerful tools that can empower the global community in the fight against hazardous and abusive child labor.

Read the News Release
Read the Blog Post
View the Slideshow
View the Video
Read the Reports


DOL Working for You

Job Corps Carpentry Student Nails Down Green Job

Working for you - Chantal Roman. Click on photo for a larger image.

Thanks to her training at the San Diego Job Corps Center, Chantal Roman overcame substance dependency and homelessness and is now thriving as a tradeswoman. After enrolling in Job Corps in 2010, Roman immediately displayed leadership qualities and an excellent work ethic, according to center instructors. She grew to become a mentor to other students while also earning her high school degree and career technical training certification in carpentry. With an aim towards finding a career "different and challenging that would always keep me working," Roman sought and found a green job. She now works for American Insulation Inc. in San Diego, Calif., a local minority, woman-owned business, specializing in weatherization and installation projects. Job Corps "gave me the skills I needed to change my life," she said.

Air Force Vet Works to Help Other Vets

Working for you - Doran Hocker. Click on photo for a larger image.

When he was in the Air Force, Doran Hocker was in charge of supplies ranging from armaments to tires to clothes. In civilian life, however, substance abuse and emotional issues caused Hocker to bounce from job to job and drift. He eventually found a new lease on life through the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans, a department grantee under the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program. Hocker took anger management classes, learned how to plan a budget and got sober. He said he was so attuned "to what a veteran feels and needs" that when MACV had a staff opening, it hired him as a case manager to work with other veterans who needed guidance. Hocker said his new goal is to help as many veterans as possible "so I can work myself out of a job."


DOL in Action

Trenching Hazards Found at Mastec North America Site

Mastec North America Inc. has been cited with two, including one willful, Occupational Safety and Health Administration violations for exposing workers to excavation hazards while installing a conduit pipe for underground utilities in an unprotected trench in Muskego, Wis. The inspection was conducted under the agency's National Emphasis Program for Trenching and Excavations. Proposed penalties total $108,500. The willful violation involves failing to provide cave-in protection for workers in an unprotected trench that was more than 8 feet deep and approximately 180 feet long.

Read the News Release


OPC Polymers Cited After Cloud for Flammable Vapors

Yenkin Majestic Paint Corp., which operates as OPC Polymers, has been cited for 26 health violations after a cloud containing flammable vapors was released from the company's Columbus, Ohio, facility on March 21. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration initiated an inspection under its National Emphasis Program on Process Safety Management for Covered Chemical Facilities. Proposed penalties total $138,600. The vapor cloud was caused by a copolymer reaction of flammable chemicals when over-pressurization occurred in the facility's equipment.

Read the News Release


Real Estate Management Company Ordered to Pay Back Wages

A federal judge in Lincoln, Neb. has entered a default judgment against G.A.S. and Realty Linc Inc., also known as The Realty Center; The Realty Center Property Management; and Realty Lincoln, for a total of $29,284 in back wages and liquidated damages to 14 employees. The judgment was entered after the real estate management company and owner Gary T. Thompson failed to answer or appear in court in response to a complaint filed by the department's Wage and Hour Division.

Read the News Release


Willful and Serious Safety Violations Found at Georgia Utility Company

J.J.E. Constructors Inc. of Alpharetta, Ga., has been cited with one willful and two serious safety violations for exposing employees to trenching hazards while installing new storm and sewer lines at the company's work site in Donalsonville, Ga. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed penalties of $43,400. The willful violation was for exposing employees to struck-by and cave-in hazards and the serious violations involved exposing workers to entrapment and failing to provide a ladder to enter and exit the excavation.

Read the News Release


Dlubak Glass Cited for Exposing Workers to Lead at Ohio Plant

Dlubak Glass Co. has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 15 health violations, including willful and repeat violations, many related to the presence of lead. An inspection was conducted at one of Dlubak's Upper Sandusky, Ohio, plants following a complaint that workers were being exposed to lead and not provided adequate personal protective equipment. Proposed penalties total $126,700. Due to the willful and repeat violations and the nature of the hazards, OSHA has placed Dlubak Glass in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure future compliance.

Read the News Release


Violations Found at Podnar Plastics Manufacturing Facility

Podnar Plastics Inc. in Kent, Ohio, has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with seven safety violations, including one willful, for failing to ensure that a mold machine's point-of-operation was properly guarded. OSHA conducted an inspection after receiving complaints alleging hazards at the facility, which manufactures plastic containers. Proposed penalties total $64,400. The five serious violations include failing to develop machine-specific lockout/tagout procedures and to train authorized employees on the procedures, and failing to provide proper hand protection for workers required to handle hot parts.

Read the News Release


Milwaukee Company Cited for Failing to Isolate Power

Miller Compressing Co. in Milwaukee, Wis. has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with two willful safety violations for allowing employees to perform maintenance on a shredder without first isolating the machine's energy source. OSHA conducted an inspection after receiving a complaint alleging hazards at the company's scrap processing facility. Proposed penalties total $70,000. The willful violation relate to failing to lockout the electrical power source of the 7,000-horsepower shredder and for having inadequate energy control procedures in place for maintenance and servicing.

Read the News Release


Kentucky Coal Mine Undergoes 10th Targeted Inspection

An underground coal operation in Harlan County, Ky., was one of 15 mines to receive special impact inspections last month by the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Federal inspectors issued 16 citations and orders to D & C Mining Corp. for a variety of violations, including an improperly conducted pre-shift examination, an accumulation of combustible materials, and failure to comply with mine emergency evacuation training and drills. Last March, the department filed a complaint against D & C Mining in U.S. District Court, alleging that the company owes $1.67 million of $2.7 million assessed in civil penalties for 1,244 violations cited between Jan. 24, 2006, and Feb. 8, 2012. After D & C failed to respond to the complaint, the department filed a motion for entry of judgment by default on July 10 along with a proposed judgment. "Sadly, D & C Mining still hasn't gotten the message," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Joseph Main. "Operators who continue to ignore sound safety and health practices and fail to pay fines for assessed violations will be subject to the toughest enforcement actions allowed under the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977."

Read the News Release


Carter Construction Cited for Exposing Workers to Trenching Hazards

Carter Construction Co. Inc. has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with four safety violations for exposing workers to excavation hazards while installing an underground storm sewer pipe in a 20-foot-deep trench in Montgomery, Ohio. OSHA's inspection was conducted under the agency's National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavation. The company faces proposed penalties of $68,500. Two willful violations include failing to provide sidewall protection in a trench and to remove employees from an excavation where hazards were identified.

Read the News Release


Hao Hao Restaurant in Austin, Texas, to Pay $70,000 to 10 Employees

The department has settled a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division against Hao Hao Inc., doing business as Hao Hao Restaurant, in Austin, Texas, and its owner Kevin Quach, for violations of the minimum wage, overtime and child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. "In this case, the employer took advantage of low-wage, vulnerable workers who were unaware of their rights provided by the FLSA. The department remains committed to protecting workers and law-abiding employers by ensuring that competitors who ignore their legal obligations do not gain a competitive advantage," said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest. The company and Quach have agreed to pay more than $70,000 owed to 10 current and former kitchen staff and servers.

Read the News Release


Multiple Process Safety Management Violations at Westlake Vinyl

Westlake Vinyls Co. LP in Geismar, La., has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 10 serious safety and health violations, primarily related to OSHA's process safety management standards. OSHA's Baton Rouge Area Office found that employees were exposed to the potential of over-pressurized process equipment while conducting plant operations. "This company exposed its employees to avoidable workplace hazards that can cause serious injury and possible death," said Jack Turner, OSHA's area acting director in Baton Rouge. Proposed penalties total $67,000.

Read the News Release


Hawaii Union Official Sentenced to Prison for Embezzlement

David Ing, former treasurer of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 860 located in Honolulu, Hawaii, has been sentenced to four months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine for embezzling from the union. Ing pleaded guilty in May to one count of embezzlement of labor union funds and one count of structuring cash transactions to evade reporting requirements. An Office of Labor-Management Standards investigation disclosed that during a nine-month period in 2011, Ing stole from his union to finance a gambling addiction. During that time, he forged the union president's signature on union checks that he wrote to himself, and obtained unapproved cash advances through the union's credit card. Ing has already paid restitution of more than $79,000.


Proposed $70,000 Penalty for Arizona Postal Facility

A U.S. Postal Service processing and distribution center in Tucson, Ariz., has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for one willful safety violation. The proposed penalty is $70,000. The investigation was prompted by a complaint that an untrained, uncertified supervisor improperly operated a powered industrial truck during an evening shift. "Training and certification for powered trucks is required to prevent injuries and save lives, and it should be a top safety priority for all USPS facilities," said Zachary Barnett, director of OSHA's Phoenix Area Office. Violations of OSHA's powered industrial truck standard are among the top five types of violations most commonly cited by OSHA in FY 2012.

Read the News Release


Workers at 2 Michigan Hotels Due $162,000 in Back Wages

More than 700 workers at the Best Western Plus Lansing and the Red Roof Inn in Muskegon, will receive $162,147 in back wages after a Wage and Hour Division investigation of the two commonly-owned Michigan hotels revealed violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act's overtime, minimum wage and record-keeping provisions. The affected employees worked as front desk, office, housekeeping, banquet and renovation staff. Investigators determined that the employer violated minimum wage regulations by taking pay deductions for breaks and lunch periods that employees did not receive, failing to count or pay for hours worked at special events and requiring new hires to perform four hours of uncompensated work.

Read the News Release


Safety and Health Hazards Found at Kearny, NJ, Warehouse

Warehouse company Continental Terminals Inc., was cited for 18 safety and health violations, including two willful, in its warehouse facility in Kearney, N.J. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted an inspection in response to a complaint regarding employees being lifted on the fork of a forklift truck. Proposed penalties total $162,400. The violations include the company's failure to provide fall protection on platforms, locked or sealed emergency exit doors, power industrial trucks left unattended with a load raised and the engine running and exposing employees to live electrical parts.

Read the News Release


Mohawk Industries Agrees to Improve Fire Safety Protection

Mohawk Industries Inc., a carpet manufacturer based in Calhoun, Ga., and the department have reached a settlement agreement under which the company will increase fire protection at its four carpet pad facilities. The agreement resolves citations issued by the department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for violations found at the company's manufacturing facility in Johnstown, Ohio. OSHA cited the company with four serious violations involving dust, unguarded floors and electrical hazards. The four facilities, located in Connecticut, Georgia, Ohio and Texas, manufacture carpet pads by grinding, mixing and rebonding recycled polymer foam materials, a process that can involve explosion hazards.

Read the News Release


EBSA Investigators Help Take Down Not So Good Fella

A multi-agency investigation including the department's Employee Benefits Security Administration and the Office of the Inspector General has netted a 51-month prison sentence for Philadelphia La Cosa Nostra Family member Gaeton Lucibello. He was among 14 members and associates of the Philadelphia LCN Family charged with crimes involving racketeering conspiracy, extortion, loan sharking, illegal gambling, witness tampering and theft from an employee benefit plan in a third superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Philadelphia on July 25, 2012. Shortly thereafter Lucibello pleaded guilty to conspiring to conduct and participate in the affairs of the Philadelphia LCN Family through a pattern of racketeering activity.

Read the Department of Justice News Release


 


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