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October 25, 2012
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Winner of PRSA's 2012 THOTH Award and Ragan's PR Daily Award 2012 - Best Electronic Newsletter

Rosie's 'Mother'

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

Credit Frances Perkins, the nation's fourth secretary of labor (and the first woman to serve in a president's Cabinet) with the birth of "Rosie the Riveter." Secretary Perkins resisted an idea floated in the Roosevelt administration of drafting American women to serve in the military during World War II.

CAPTION. Click on the image for a larger version.

She believed that women would serve the war effort better (and get a foothold in "nontraditional jobs") if they could enter the civilian workforce in greatly expanded numbers and do many of the jobs left behind by men who went overseas to fight. During the war, millions of American women went to work in factories, many of whom produced munitions and war supplies. The term "Rosie the Riveter" was first used in 1942 in a popular song of the same name.


Skills Enhance Competitiveness

Caption. Click on the photo for a larger image.  View the slideshow for more images and captions.

At a gathering with community activists, labor advocates, students and local officials in San Francisco's Chinatown on Oct. 18, Secretary Solis highlighted the importance of strengthening and expanding the skills needed for today's in-demand jobs. She told the group gathered at the headquarters of the Chinese for Affirmative Action, "You will greatly increase your competitiveness in the job market if you can get a professional certificate or a college degree." She encouraged the audience to pursue educational opportunities and to take advantage of available resources, such as Job Corps and programs through one-stop centers for skills development and training. "Secretary Solis understands the experiences of vulnerable workers and the necessary policies in order for workers to thrive," said Jenny Lam, CAA's director for community initiatives. "She is committed to bringing the resources of the federal government to ensure all people can access safe, healthy jobs with fair wages," added Shaw San Liu of the Chinese Progressive Association.

View the Slideshow


A Grant's Training Success

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Jane Oates addresses community college representatives, business partners, and state and local officials at Quinsigamond Community College, one of 15 Massachusetts schools to benefit from a $20 million Labor Department grant to improve training for careers in high-demand industries. Photo copyright: Quinsigamond Community College. Click on the photo for a larger image.

Last year, the Employment and Training Administration awarded Massachusetts community colleges a $20 million grant to prepare students for high-skill, high-demand careers. Today, that grant has helped 15 community colleges redesign degree and certificate programs in healthcare, biotechnology and life sciences, advanced manufacturing, clean energy and sustainability, information technology, and financial services. Jane Oates, assistant secretary of labor for employment and training, applauded the grant's success at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester on Oct. 19. Speaking to about 50 community college representatives, business partners, and state and local officials, Oates praised the program as a model of academic-business training collaboration. "Employers only want somebody with the skills that will make them competitive," said Oates. "Who better than the community colleges?"


Focus on Abilities

San Francisco community-based organization The Arc emphasizes that workers with disabilities can succeed, using a new interpretation of the World War II 'Rosie the Riveter' theme. View the slideshow for more images and captions.

Offering employers resources for hiring and retaining workers with disabilities was the purpose of a full-day conference held by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs in San Francisco on Oct. 19. Partnering with the California Department of Rehabilitation, OFCCP brought together more than 175 community-based organizations and employers to highlight successful approaches to hiring, accommodating and retaining employees with disabilities. Coinciding with National Disabilities Employment Awareness Month, the solutions-focused conference was kicked off with a keynote from Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez.

View the Slideshow


Safety Congress and Expo

Assistant Secretary of Labor Dr. David Michaels is joined by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Director Dr. John Howard (left) and the CEO of BST Solutions, a safety consultation company, Colin Duncan (far left) at the 2012 National Safety Council's Congress and Expo. Click on the photo for a larger image.

Safety and environmental experts gathered at the National Safety Council's Congress and Expo "Celebration of the Century," in Orlando on Oct. 23. Plenary speaker Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, discussed OSHA's fall and heat illness prevention campaigns, its efforts to globally harmonize hazard labeling requirements and studies demonstrating that random OSHA inspections improve work site safety and health and employers' bottom lines. The NSC is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to prevent injuries and deaths at work.


Going Underground

Left to right: Todd Moore, Consol Energy's director of safety, coal ; Erik Fatemi, clerk, Majority Senate Appropriations Committee (Sen. Tom Harkin); Mark Laisch, professional staff member, Majority Senate Appropriations Committee (Sen. Tom Harkin); an unidentified miner, and MSHA Assistant Secretary Joseph Main. View the slideshow for more images and captions.

A congressional delegation, led by officials from the Mine Safety and Health Administration and Consol Energy, Inc., toured an underground coal mine in Geene County, Pa., this week for a demonstration of the latest mine safety technology. After descending from the surface of the Bailey Mine by elevator shaft, the group transferred to a diesel-powered railcar for an additional six-mile ride. The demonstrations showcased tracking devices that monitor a worker's location in the mine; a "through-the-earth" communications system that enables wireless voice and text communication between the surface and underground; belt-wearable devices that visually and audibly warn of a piece of machinery's proximity, a coal dust explosibility meter and a personal dust monitor, which measure the amount of coal dust present in the atmosphere to prevent explosions and black lung disease.

View the Slideshow


'A Better Bottom Line'

Employment experts from academia, business, and government, including Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez, joined this week to discuss strategies state governments can use to help private-sector businesses hire and retain people with disabilities. The roundtable was convened by National Governors Association Chair Jack Markell of Delaware and Gov. Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota as part of the NGA Chair's "A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities" initiative. The effort has opened the door for ongoing collaboration between NGA and ODEP on various state-level policy efforts, including the ODEP-created Employment First State Leadership Mentor Program.

Learn About the NGA Chair's Initiative
Learn About the Mentor Program


Booming Partnerships

While in New Hampshire last week, Jane Oates, assistant secretary of labor for employment and training, traveled to Nashua Community College to check in on the school's participation in the Regional Advanced Manufacturing Partnership program. During her visit, Oates toured NCC's advanced manufacturing laboratories and met with school officials, students and local employers. Together, they have developed strong partnerships that are helping to update and expand the school's curriculum, creating a pipeline for highly trained graduates to enter careers that employers are hiring for today and in the future. The program received nearly $20 million in the first round of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant initiative last fall. Manufacturing is a major industry in New Hampshire, accounting for more than 20 percent of the state's economy.


Commending 30 Years of Advocacy

In a show of support for the National Organization on Disability, Patricia A. Shiu, director of the department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, attended the group's 30th anniversary observance in New York City last week. Following the event, Shiu lauded NOD's efforts to engage major corporations in a concerted effort to increase employment among people with disabilities by developing, testing, analyzing and replicating programs that work. "For three decades, the National Organization on Disability has tirelessly advocated on behalf of individuals with disabilities. We look forward to continuing to work closely with their leadership in order to ensure that all qualified workers with disabilities get on the path to good, meaningful and self-sustaining jobs," she said. The nonprofit organization is led by President Carol Glazer and its Board is chaired by former Pennsylvania Governor and first Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge.

Learn About NOD
Learn About OFCCP's Efforts


Ministry Leaders Conference

Crossroads Career Network, a coalition of more than 80 church-based employment ministries across the country, held their annual Ministry Leaders Conference in Marietta, Ga. Ben Seigel, deputy director of the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, delivered keynote remarks at the event Oct. 20. Seigel discussed the department's Job Clubs Initiative and encouraged the ministry leaders to collaborate with their local American Job Center programs. He also led a workshop with two, local ministry leaders who discussed specific strategies for partnering with the workforce investment system, including how to develop relationships with AJC career advisors and job developers

Learn About the Conference


Latinas in Action Conference

Dr. Kugler concludes her remarks to the Latinas in Action conference talking about the rise of Latina entrepreneurs who are growing at a faster rate than their male counterparts. View the slideshow for more images and captions.

Dr. Adriana Kugler, the chief economist at the department, gave the keynote address to the Latinas in Action conference in Chicago on Oct. 18. Speaking to about 300 people, Kugler highlighted the significant progress Latinas have experienced during the current economic recovery, with unemployment falling faster for Hispanic women than in any previous recovery. Kugler also talked about how Hispanic self-employment is growing, and how Hispanic women were more likely to be business owners than Hispanic men. As part of the conference, Kugler was honored as a recipient of the Allstate Foundation's Purple Purse for her work supporting the economic empowerment of domestic violence survivors. The conference was kicked off by Dolores Huerta, who co-founded the United Farm Workers, and included Illinois State Sen. Iris Martinez, Illinois State Rep. Lisa Hernandez and Rep.Toni Berrios.

View the Slideshow


NDEAM at FDA

As part of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez gave remarks at a Food and Drug Administration event on Oct. 23. "On a daily basis, people with disabilities must think creatively about how to solve problems and accomplish tasks," she said. "In the workplace, this translates into innovative thinking and varied approaches to confronting challenges and achieving success — in other words, exactly the type of people that I know I want working for the FDA. The very nature of your mission requires you to be flexible and innovative."

Read About Other NDEAM Activities


ShaleNET Forum

Addressing the 4th Annual ShaleNET Workforce Forum, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Jane Oates spoke about the department's efforts to develop strong partnerships between employers, local colleges and workforce boards to train workers in the oil and gas industry. The partnership has resulted in the establishment of common core standards that lead to industry-recognized credentials and long-term career pathways. The ShaleNET program, in its third year of funding through the department's Community-Based Job Training grant, is playing a vital role in training a highly skilled and well-educated workforce and creating job opportunities for residents in Ohio, West Virginia, New York and Pennsylvania. This year's conference in Seven Springs, Pa., brought together approximately 200 educators, researchers, workforce professionals and industry partners to improve the workforce pipeline necessary to meet the needs of this growing industry.


44 Years of Service

The past, present and future of the Hispanic community was the theme at the Ibero-American Action League, Inc. 44 Years of Service event on Oct. 24, in Rochester, N.Y. Dr. Gabriela Lemus, senior advisor and director of the Office of Public Engagement, was the guest speaker, and emphasized the importance of post-secondary education and the department's programs that help underserved and underrepresented youth. Ibero is a nonprofit organization that provides advocacy, primarily for Hispanics, and for communities as a whole through services for development disabilities, education, employment and housing.


Weekly UI Claims

The department reported the advance figures for seasonally adjusted initial Unemployment Insurance claims was 369,000 for the week ending October 20, a decrease of 23,000 from the previous week. The four-week moving average was 368,000 up 1,500 from the previous week's revised average of 366,500.

Read the News Release


Upcoming Deadlines & Events

Open Funding Opportunities


OASAM — Small Business Vendor Outreach Session

November 7 — Washington, DC


OFCCP — Analyzing Personnel Activity Data

November 2 — Columbus, OH

 

OFCCP — Applicant Tracking

November 15 — Wichita, KS

 

OFCCP — Basic Requirements of an Affirmative Action Program

November 14 — New Orleans, LA

 

OFCCP — Common OFCCP Audit Violations

November 14 — Wichita, KS

 

OFCCP — Community Based Education & Outreach

November 8 — Memphis, TN

November 15 — Memphis, TN


OFCCP — Compliance Assistance Seminar — Construction Contractors

October 31 — Nashville, TN
November 29 — Memphis, TN


OFCCP — Compliance Assistance Seminar — Supply & Service Contractors

October 31 — Nashville, TN

November 1 — Memphis, TN

November 7 — Nashville, TN

November 14 — Nashville, TN
November 27 — Milwaukee, WI

November 28 — Nashville, TN


OFCCP — Compliance Evaluation Audit Process

November 15 — Wichita, KS


OFCCP — Compliance Seminar on Applicant Tracking

October 29 — San Francisco, CA


OFCCP — Construction Evaluations

November 1 — Chicago, IL

 

OFCCP — Construction — Nuts and Bolts

November 1 — Houston, TX


OFCCP — National Origin Discrimination

November 15 — Omaha, NE


OFCCP — What to Expect During an OFCCP Audit/ OFCCP Regulatory Update

November 14 — Columbus, OH


OFCCP — Workplace Accommodations under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

November 1 — Omaha, NE


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What's New

Houston, We Have Lift Off

College-prepartory students from nearby Mount Carmel Academy take a photo along with Secretary Solis and their Principal Maureen Giacchin during the Oct. 25 event at Houston Community College. View the slideshow for more images and captions.

With more than 70,000 students enrolled each semester, Houston Community College is one of the largest institutions of higher learning in the nation. It welcomed one more to campus on Oct. 25 as Secretary Solis kicked off her day in Houston with a visit to highlight the school's pipeline for career education. More than 100 students, educators and community leaders were on hand for a discussion about the steps young people can take to prepare for jobs of today and careers of tomorrow. Solis then traveled to the Midtown Terrace Job Connection Service Center operated by Goodwill Industries. Funded in part by three grants from the department, the center provides a wide range of services for veterans looking to make the transition to civilian careers with an emphasis on providing services to those experiencing homelessness or who have been incarcerated. Eddie Goynes and Arthur Randile, two recent clients, spoke with Solis about their experiences and the opportunity to turn their lives around because of Department of Labor-funded programs.

View the Slideshow
Learn About DOL Programs for Veterans
Watch the College Video

Youth and Veterans in San Antonio on Track for Good Jobs

During her visit to the University of Texas at San Antonio, Secretary Solis spends a moment to thank a group of young veterans for their service and hear about their experience at UTSA. View the slideshow for more images and captions.

Ever since the Alamo, San Antonio has been a community proud of military service and veterans. That history and the city's growing aerospace industry served as the backdrop for Secretary Solis' visit on Oct. 24. During her first stop at the Alamo Area Aerospace Academy, Solis met with high school students participating in a unique training partnership that allows them to participate in paid internships with local employers like Boeing, Caterpillar, AT&T, Medtronics, and Lockheed Martin, prepare for industry certifications, and earn college credits through the Alamo Community College District. The school is located within Port San Antonio, an innovative mixed-use redevelopment project located on the former Kelly Air Force Base. Later in the day, Solis visited the downtown campus of the University of Texas at San Antonio to talk with recent veterans using the G.I. Bill to continue their education and transition into civilian careers. Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolf was on hand for the conversation, which was moderated by UTSA Provost Lisa Firmin, a retired Air Force colonel. Nearly 3,000 veterans are enrolled at UTSA, which has seen substantial growth thanks to the programs and the convenience of the downtown campus.

View the Slideshow


International Scene

Our Work in Haiti

Former President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary Solis pose for a photo with workers outside the Sae-A garment factory at Caracol Industrial Park ahead of the park's inauguration on Oct. 22, 2012. Photo credit: Kendra Helmer/USAID. View the slideshow for more images and captions.

Joining Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton, Secretary Solis traveled to Haiti on Oct. 22 for the official opening of the Caracol Industrial Park. The facility is projected to employ up to 65,000 in northern Haiti and create additional jobs in the surrounding service industry. Haiti is a top priority of the department's Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB). In the past year, ILAB carried out six technical missions there and set aside $4 million for labor cooperation — all part of the department's mandate under the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement Act of 2008, which provides Haiti with trade benefits for apparel, conditioned on labor compliance. Under HOPE II, the department must identify noncompliant factories and help them comply, including now in the new Caracol Industrial Park. Other dignitaries attending included Sen. Patrick Leahy, Haiti's president and prime minister, and the president of the Inter-American Development Bank.

View the Slideshow

Grant for Research on Child Labor in West Africa Cocoa Region

Tulane University's Payson Center for International Development in New Orleans has been awarded a $1.5 million cooperative agreement by the Bureau of International Labor Affairs. The grant will fund research on the prevalence of child labor in the cocoa-growing areas of Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana. Under the grant, Tulane will develop a baseline estimate of children engaged in the worst forms of child labor between 2008-2009, survey activities during the 2013-2014 cocoa harvest season, enhance the capacity of the countries' statistical offices in conducting surveys, and develop a manual to replicate its research design and survey methodology.

Read the News Release

Promoting International Cooperation on Labor and Employment

Thirty-four countries met recently at the Washington headquarters of the Organization of American States for a three-day planning and policy session of the OAS Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor. Representatives discussed employment issues, youth employment, green jobs, and technical assistance. Representing the department were Robert Shepard of the Bureau of International Labor Affairs and vice chairman of the IACML's Working Party on Policy; and Pam Frugoli of the Employment and Training Administration's Office of Workforce Investment O*Net/Competency Assessment Team. The IACML is a forum within the OAS that brings together labor ministers from the Western Hemisphere to promote cooperation on labor and employment issues. "The discussions were extremely candid," said Shepard, "and it was fascinating to see just how much interest there is in how our department is addressing the many challenging issues facing the countries of the hemisphere."

Read About the IACML

Accords With Consulates

(Left to right) Emelisa Callejas, Consulate General of Honduras, Atlanta, Ga.; Rosa Maria Merida de Mora, Consulate General of Guatemala, Atlanta, Ga.; Wage and Hour Regional Administrator Oliver Peebles III, Atlanta, Ga., and Claudia Valenzuela, Consulate General of El Salvador, Atlanta, Ga. Pose after signing memoradum of understanding agreements. Click on the photo for a larger image.

Memorandum of understanding agreements were signed in Atlanta on Oct. 16 by Wage and Hour Southeast Regional Administrator Oliver Peebles III and Consulate Generals Emelisa Callejas of Honduras, Rosa Maria Merida de Mora of Guatemala and Claudia Valenzuela of El Salvador. The agreements establish collaborative relationships to help workers exercise their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Labor Standards Act, Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act and the H-2A and H-2B programs under the Immigration and Nationality Act.


National Scene

On the Healthcare Front Lines

Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Administration Dr. David Michaels speaks to a group gathered to discuss Frontline Hospital Workers and the worker/patient safety relationship. View the slideshow for more images and captions.

Front-line healthcare workers confront a range of workplace hazards, such as bloodborne pathogens, needle sticks, falls, patient lifting and exposure to chemicals. These and other safety concerns were the focus at a Frontline Hospital Workers and Worker/Patient Safety Relationship Meeting at the department on Oct. 25. "Healthcare workers get hurt and sick at higher rates than even construction and manufacturing workers," Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, said. "It is terribly unfair that the people who face the highest risk of work-related injury and illness are the same workers who have dedicated their lives to caring for our loved ones." About 70 attendees from hospitals, academia, government, unions and professional organizations heard discussions that touched on research, intervention, data gaps, policy opportunities and next steps towards improving the safety and health of patients and workers in one of the country's fastest-growing economic sectors.

View the Slideshow
Visit the Healthcare Safety Page


Around DOL

Promoting Workplace Diversity, Inclusion

Claudia Gordon of OFCCP (pictured) and Ashley McAroy of SOL demonstrate some common American Sign Language sentences for department employees. View the slideshow for more images and captions.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month is a nationwide observance, but the department has been promoting awareness close to home, too. Events at the national office have educated employees about working with and hiring people with disabilities. Last week, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management hosted a training session on hiring, and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Special Assistant Claudia Gordon has coordinated weekly classes on American Sign Language. "Our goal is to educate employees, reduce communication barriers and promote understanding of deaf and hard-of-hearing culture," Gordon said.

View the Slideshow

Regional Offices Honored for Disability Hiring

Cathy Gross (middle), Human Resources Consultant with Philadelphia Region's OASAM, proudly holds plaque awarded to the department. Click on the photo for a larger image.

The Philadelphia and Boston/New York regional offices of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management were honored for providing employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities over the last two years. At a Disability Awareness Month celebration hosted by the New Jersey Department of Labor's Vocational Rehabilitation Services Division and HireAbility, the department was presented with a plaque for being an avid supporter and attendee of several federal Schedule A hiring events since 2010, which resulted in three individuals being hired in administrative positions in both regions.


News You Can Use

Advice You Can Save On

This is "National Save for Retirement Week" and it's a great time to assess retirement goals and savings strategy. "While I believe that every week should be 'save for retirement week,' it's good to have a designated time when busy people can stop and do a quick assessment of where they are in their retirement planning, and to make changes if needed," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employee Benefits Security Phyllis C. Borzi. According to Borzi, workers ought to take advantage of an employer-sponsored retirement plan if they have that option, and if they are already participating in a 401(k)-type plan, then they should check their quarterly statements to review the fees they are paying. "The truth is that retirement savings plans aren't free," she said. "And it's why we issued new fee disclosure rules to help you understand what you're being charged to invest in such a plan."

Read Borzi's Blog Post
Learn More About Saving for Retirement

New Classes of Nuclear Weapons Workers Added to Cohort

Former nuclear weapons workers in Tennessee, Texas and Massachusetts are being notified about three new classes of employees being added to the Special Exposure Cohort of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act. The department's Office of Workers' Compensation Programs is notifying former employees of Clarksville Modification Center in Clarksville, Tenn.; Medina Modification Center in San Antonio, Texas; and Winchester Engineering and Analytical Center in Winchester, Mass. Workers included in a designated class, and diagnosed with one of 22 specified cancers, may receive a presumption of causation under the EEOICPA. To date, the department has paid more than $8.6 billion to eligible workers nationwide.

Read the Clarksville Release
Read the San Antonio Release
Read the Winchester Release


DOL Working for You

Job Corps Provides New Life for Refugee

Working For You - Peter Lominit. Click on photo for a larger image.

Because of Job Corps training, Peter Lominit is thriving in America after overcoming almost impossible adversity. During the Ugandan civil war, rebels attacked his village, killing his entire family, and forcing him, at 14, to flee. After traveling more than 1,000 miles on foot, Lominit settled in a refugee camp in northwest Kenya. Seven years later, a humanitarian program helped relocate him to California, where he enrolled in the San Diego Job Corps Center. Lominit blossomed there, obtaining his high school diploma and driver's license, and successfully completing the Plumbing Career Technical Training Program. After graduation, Lominit held jobs as a plumber, bus driver and Swahili translator. But he made such a lasting impression as a student that the San Diego Job Corps eventually hired him as a maintenance technician. "It has been a long, difficult journey to arrive at this place in my life," he said, adding he owes it all to skills learned at Job Corps.

Army Vet Receives Help That Makes a Difference

Working For You - Kevin Fox. Click on photo for a larger image.

When he left the Army, Kevin Fox was resourceful enough to continually reinvent himself. At first he drove cabs, worked in a steel mill, and loaded trucks. Then he switched to a culinary career, cooking with renowned Chef Julia Child and catering events for Jacqueline Onassis and former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev. He moved on to the industrial cleaning industry, but when the recession and a disabling injury ended his job, Fox became unemployed and homeless. His road to recovery began with housing and career help from New Hampshire's Harbor Homes, a department grantee under the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program. He was so impressive that the program hired Fox as an outreach specialist where he now uses his expertise to help homeless veterans. "My life isn't over, it has just begun," Fox said. He is also a volunteer for Harbor Homes' Stand Down events, where volunteers provide homeless veterans with necessities such as food, clothing, and medical treatment, and free services.


DOL in Action

Restaurant Group, Owner Sued for $1 Million in Unpaid Wages

El Tequila LLC of Tulsa, Okla., and owner Carlos Aguirre, are being sued by the department after an investigation found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act's minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions. These violations resulted in approximately $1 million in unpaid wages owed to 221 kitchen and wait staff, hosts and bussers at four restaurant locations. The investigation by the Wage and Hour Division determined that employees worked as many as 72 hours in a week and were paid a fixed salary without overtime compensation. "When violations of the FLSA are discovered, the Labor Department will take appropriate action to ensure workers receive the wages they have earned and to which they are legally entitled," said Secretary Solis.

Read the News Release

Corrective Action Ordered for 2 Workers Who Filed OSHA Complaints

Two Connecticut employers who discharged employees for filing complaints with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have been ordered by federal court consent judgments to pay back wages and take corrective action on behalf of the workers. An employee of Parker Medical, an East Bridgewater manufacturer of X-ray devices, and an employee of Scott Bialik, a Brookfield dentist, filed health and safety complaints with OSHA in 2009 and 2011. Both employees were discharged after OSHA began its inspections. The judgments follow whistleblower investigations by OSHA and litigation by the department's regional attorneys.

Read the News Release

Repeat Violations Found During Follow-up Inspection at Ohio Plant

Miami Valley Polishing LLC has been cited for 14, including seven repeat, Occupational Safety and Health Administration violations at the company's Piqua, Ohio, facility. OSHA conducted an inspection in July as a follow-up to a May 2011 inspection that resulted in citations for failing to evaluate workers' exposure to chromium and lock out the energy sources of machinery, among other violations. Proposed fines for the most recent inspection total $57,144.

Read the News Release

Manufacturer in Colorado Paid Employees Less Than Minimum Wage

Colorado Precision Machining Inc. in Arvada, Colo., has paid $39,082 in back wages and liquidated damages to 10 machinists, following an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division. The investigation found that the company paid employees less than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and made illegal wage deductions for such items as calipers, micrometers and other hand tools.

Read the News Release

Artificial Turf Installer Cited After Heat-Related Death

Symmetry Turf Installations LLC of Mount Pleasant, Texas, was cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with two serious safety violations for failing to protect employees working in excessive heat. OSHA conducted an inspection after a forklift operator died of complications from heat stroke that occurred in June while resurfacing the football practice field at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. "This tragedy underscores the need for employers to take proactive steps to keep workers safe in extreme heat," said John Hermanson, OSHA's regional administrator in Dallas.

Read the News Release

Former Union Official in Georgia Sentenced for Wire Fraud

Rebecca Mercer, former secretary-treasurer of the National Treasury Employees Union Chapter 284 in Atlanta, has been sentenced to one year and one day in prison for wire fraud following an Office of Labor-Management Standards investigation. On June 23, 2011, Mercer pled guilty to one count of wire fraud after the OLMS investigation revealed that between July 2006 and June 2008, she embezzled more than $50,000 in union funds through unauthorized debit card transactions and ATM withdrawals. Mercer was also sentenced to three years of probation and was ordered to pay $50,822.22 in restitution.

Aid for Laid Off T-Mobile Workers in Oregon

A $198,495 grant to assist about 120 workers affected by layoffs resulting from the closure of T-Mobile USA Inc.'s facility in Redmond, Ore., was awarded by the department on Oct. 24. The funding, provided to the Oregon Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development, will help eligible workers find re-employment in the state in conjunction with services they will receive as a result of their eligibility for Trade Adjustment Assistance benefits.

Read the News Release

Craft Brewery Cited Following Fatal Keg Explosion

On April 24, an employee of Redhook Brewery in Portsmouth, N.H., was killed when a keg exploded and struck him while he was using a compressed air line to purge the keg of liquid. An Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspection found that the explosion resulted from excess air pressure introduced into the keg from the keg cleanout line. The line lacked an air regulator that would have limited its air pressure to less than 60 PSI, or pounds per square inch, which is the maximum air pressure limit recommended by keg manufacturers. As a result, OSHA has cited Portland, Ore.-based Craft Brew Alliance Inc. for this and other hazards identified at the New Hampshire brewery.

Read the News Release

Florida Pizza Franchisee Pays Nearly $372,000 in Back Wages

PDQ Pizza, doing business as Domino's Pizza, has paid $371,675 in back wages to 401 employees following a Wage and Hour Division investigation that found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The investigation discovered the company did not properly compensate tip-earning employees for all hours worked and employees performing nontipped duties were paid as if they were tipped employees, resulting in their pay being below the minimum wage. Also, the employer illegally deducted uniform expenses from employee's wages and failed to properly calculate and compensate tipped employees for all overtime hours worked. The franchisee has 19 locations in Florida's Palm Beach, Indian River and Brevard counties.

Read the News Release

Wisconsin Company Faces Penalties for Amputation Hazards

Northeastern Wisconsin Wood Products has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 16 alleged health and safety violations. A follow-up inspection at the company's Pound, Wis., facility, on April 25 cited four willful and six repeat violations, many for exposing workers to amputation hazards. Proposed penalties total $184,800. Similar violations were cited in July 2011 after which the company was placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which concentrates on employers that have demonstrated recalcitrance or indifference to their Occupational Safety and Health Act obligations by committing willful, repeated or failure-to-abate violations.

Read the News Release

Assistance for Wildfire Cleanup in Texas

A $349,845 National Emergency Grant increment was awarded by the department on Oct. 24 to the Texas Workforce Commission for Bastrop County to create up to 69 temporary jobs for eligible workers to assist with cleanup and recovery efforts in the aftermath of wildfires. "The far-reaching destruction of the 2011 wildfires significantly impacted communities in Bastrop County," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Jane Oates. "This federal funding will provide critical assistance for tackling the tremendous recovery efforts already underway by creating temporary cleanup jobs for those in need of employment."

Read the News Release

Forever 21's Refusal to Comply With Subpoena Prompts Action

The department has filed an action in U.S. District Court to enforce a subpoena issued to Los Angeles-based clothing retailer Forever 21 seeking documents related to the company's apparel contractors and manufacturers. Investigators with the Wage and Hour Division found evidence of significant violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act's minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions by vendors supplying goods to the Los Angeles-based retailer. Forever 21 refused to provide the documents requested in the subpoena.

Read the News Release

Wind Power Safety Alliance

An alliance that focuses on safety training for workers in the wind power industry has been renewed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Lake Region State College in Devils Lake, N.D. OSHA will provide consultation and course instruction on working safely while exposed to hazards inherent to the wind power industry. Lake Region State College will offer training for students and on-site contractors regarding the commissioning, operation and maintenance of the electrical generation equipment and controls for wind turbine generation systems. Through its Alliance Program, OSHA works with unions, consulates, trade and professional organizations, faith- and community-based organizations, businesses and educational institutions to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses.

Read the News Release

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