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May 2, 2013
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DOL Motors Into History

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

You might know that the first U.S. president to ride in an automobile was William McKinley in November 1899. You might have even heard that the first U.S. president to use an official White House car was William Howard Taft, who had a 40-horsepower White steam touring car and a 48-horsepower six-cylinder Pierce-Arrow limousine at his disposal. But can you name the first Cabinet secretary to secure appropriations for an official car? Look no further than the Department of Labor, where William B. Wilson — the department's first secretary — became the first Cabinet member to use a government-owned car. Wilson had relied on a team of horses and a carriage borrowed by the Commerce Department

An Oakland automobile like this one was the first government automobile used by a cabinet member. Click to view a larger photo.

(which had been the Department of Commerce and Labor until Taft signed the law creating an independent Department of Labor) until that point. His subsequent purchase of a second-hand Oakland was met with outraged resistance from Congress, who then passed a law forbidding such purchases. History — however — drives in one direction, and today motor vehicles are an essential part of the department's ability to carry out its mission, with more than 4,000 motor vehicles in use by the department in 2011.

Learn About Secretary William B. Wilson
View the Centennial Timeline
View the Centennial Video


Work In Progress: The Best of Our Blog

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

Workers' Memorial Day: Honoring Those Who Left Us Too Soon: All over the world, people observed April 28 as Workers' Memorial Day — an occasion to remember and honor the lives of those who have died on the job. Here, acting Secretary Harris pays his respects to all those workers whose lives were cut short, from those killed in major workplace disasters like the explosion in West, Texas, and the building collapse in Bangladesh to lesser-known individuals who perish each day. "Even as we reflect back on their lives, let's also look forward, inspired by their memory to rededicate ourselves to our worker safety mission," Harris writes.

Building a Skills Infrastructure by Investing in Community Colleges: In a blog that was cross-posted on the Huffington Post, acting Secretary Harris provides commentary on the ways that community colleges strengthen partnerships with area employers and leverage cutting-edge technologies to deliver more efficient and effective training programs. Harris describes how the department's Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Program (TAACCCT) helps to build a skills infrastructure and puts people back to work.

For Guatemalan Workers, a Ray of Hope: Carol Pier, acting deputy undersecretary for the Bureau of International Labor Affairs, announces a landmark agreement between the United States and Guatemala on an enforcement plan to protect workers' rights. Pier tells the stories of three Guatemalan workers who shared their experiences during fact-finding trips to the country and how the actions taken under this plan will make a dramatic difference in their lives.


Protecting Spouses in Retirement

"We were oblivious," Frank Cummings said of an oversight in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act he helped draft in 1974. "Sometimes you don't realize these things until somebody makes a rumpus." The problem Cummings referred to was the absence of retirement security for women whose husbands died before they became eligible for retirement benefits. And the rumpus to address this problem was led by a group of passionate advocates that included Sen. Bob Dole, Rep. Geraldine Ferraro and future Assistant Secretary of Labor Phyllis C. Borzi, then serving as the pension and employee benefit counsel for the House Education and Labor Committee. Borzi described the behind-the-scenes action that led to the 1984 Retirement Equity Act on a panel at the National Pension Counseling Training Conference on April 25. With former Rep. Barbara Kennelly, Pension Rights Center Director Karen Ferguson and Anne Moran, former tax counsel for the Senate Finance Committee, Borzi discussed the challenges and triumphs of creating legislation that significantly increased retirement security for America's spouses.

Read About EBSA and ERISA
Read the EBSA Newsletter


Higher Education Alliance

Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy and Paula Alfone, director, Mid-Atlantic Higher Education Recruitment Consortium signed an alliance agreement to promote the employment of people with disabilities throughout the higher education community. Click to view a larger photo.

An alliance to promote employment of job applicants with disabilities throughout the higher education community was signed on April 29 by Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez and Higher Education Recruitment Consortiums' Mid-Atlantic Director Paula Alfone. "Through this partnership ODEP will be able to develop strategies for increasing employment in the educational community for those of us with disabilities," Martinez said. The alliance allows the two organizations to combine expertise to promote mutual interest in diverse workplaces that include workers with disabilities. HERC's 600 members include colleges, universities, hospitals, research labs, and government agencies.

Read the News Release


Information for Future Workers

From left to right: Linda Lawton, associate director of career placement at Temple University; Regina Jones, OFCCP regional outreach coordinator; Mary Tiernan, EEOC senior program analyst; Rose Holandez, Women's Bureau senior program analyst; and  Cathy Gross, OASAM  regional recruiter join together to provide an informational briefing for Temple University students. Click to view a larger photo.

Employment rights were on the lesson plan when department officials met with about 35 Temple University students on April 24. The Mid-Atlantic Regional Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program, the Philadelphia regional Women's Bureau and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management partnered with the Philadelphia District Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to host an informational session at Temple University in Philadelphia. Each agency discussed its mission, objectives, and provided information on employment and internships.


Connecting in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh District Director Tracie Brown discusses the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Click to view a larger photo.

Tracie Brown, district director for the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs in Pittsburgh, delivered keynote remarks at the disability employment breakfast hosted by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry's Office of Vocational and Rehabilitation. In her April 23 remarks, she highlighted the importance of diversity inclusiveness in the 21st century workplace and provided an overview of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. That same day, staff from the agency's Pittsburgh office participated in a veterans-focused Pittsburgh Diversity Job Fair sponsored by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. OFCCP assisted with registration, distributed complaint forms and multi-lingual information about agency programs.

Read About the Rehabilitation Act


Standards for Internships

Richard Pratt, assistant district director for the Wage and Hour Division Chicago Office, presents information on student internships at the Illinois Cooperative Education and Internship Association Conference, April 26 at Illinois State University in Normal, Ill. Click to view a larger photo.

"Internships can provide valuable educational and skill-developing opportunities. However, such programs must be bona fide; and comply with labor standards." That was the message Richard Pratt, assistant district director for the Wage and Hour Division Chicago Office, shared at the Illinois Cooperative Education and Internship Association Conference at Illinois State University in Normal, Ill., on April 26. The ILCEIA is a not-for-profit organization composed of college advisors who help students find work experiences related to their studies.


Mining Symposium in Virginia

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner joins, via Skype, the University of Virginia's College at Wise's Miner Health and Safety Symposium.  Photo Credit Sen. Warner's website. Click to view a larger photo.

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner helped kick off a miner health and safety symposium on April 26 at the University of Virginia's College at Wise in Wise, Va. Speaking via online video to approximately 50 attendees, Warner discussed mining's economic and environmental impact on Southwest Virginia, while also acknowledging continuing improvements in miner health and safety trends. Two panels made up of representatives from the Mine Safety and Health Administration; the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy; mining companies and health organizations discussed these issues following Warner's remarks. The symposium was co-hosted by the Eastern Coal Council and the Virginia Mining Association.


Green Jobs in Philadelphia

Judy Greif, career coach at the Community College of Philadelphia, talks about the green training programs available at CCP during the Women's Bureau's Green Jobs Workshop for Women on April 30, 2013. View the slideshow for more images and captions.

The Philadelphia regional office of the Women's Bureau hosted a Green Jobs Workshop for Women at the Free Library of Philadelphia on April 30. During the workshop, Women's Bureau Program Analyst Rose Holandez presented information to approximately 75 attendees on "Why Green is Your Color: A Woman's Guide to a Sustainable Career." In addition, Judy Greif of the Community College of Philadelphia, Dawn Moody of the Energy Coordinating Agency, and Andrew Zimdahl of Infinite Solar Inc. talked about the training programs available through their organizations. The event is part of a collaboration with the Free Library's career information center, "The Workplace."

View the Slideshow


Coming Together for Veterans

In Rhode Island, community and government leaders are developing a model for veterans re-employment that they hope will be a model for the country. Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and Cranston Mayor Allan Fung hosted a Military Employment Roundtable and Job Fair, bringing together more than 200 national and local business leaders, government officials and veterans' service organizations to discuss opportunities for collaboration to help veterans. On April 26, Jane Oates, assistant secretary of labor for employment and training, joined Sen. Jack Reed to discuss ways the federal government is supporting this effort. Following the discussion, local veterans had an opportunity to network with potential employers and access information to assist with job searches.


Savings Advice for Students

A webinar co-hosted by the Employee Benefits Security Administration on April 30 provided tips and tools to help college seniors and young workers learn to budget. Three hundred ninety-four participants received practical guidance and resources to assist with budgeting, managing debt from student loans and credit cards, saving and investing for short and long-term goals, making the most of employer-sponsored retirement and health benefits, and other aspects of personal finance management. "By starting early and taking advantage of employer-sponsored benefits, young workers can take charge of their finances and begin to build retirement savings," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employee Benefits Security Phyllis C. Borzi.


Mexican Consulate Agreement

Ricardo Cámara, the consulate general of Mexico (left) and David King, acting Atlanta district director for the Wage and Hour Division, sign a memorandum of understanding for another two years. Click to view a larger photo.

David King, acting Atlanta district director for the Wage and Hour Division, and Ricardo Cámara, the consulate general of Mexico in Atlanta, extended their collaborative agreement another two years on May 1 in a signing ceremony at the Mexican Consulate. This agreement will continue the collaborative relationship to provide Mexican nationals in the Southeast Region with information, guidance and access to education and training resources to help them exercise their workplace rights.


On Call for Workers

Graduates from across the country of the Wage and Hour Divisions Basic 1A Training Course in Virginia Beach, Va., on April 25.  Click to view a larger photo.

Nearly two dozen talented individuals from across the country have joined the department's front line to assist the public with questions about minimum wage and overtime pay, family and medical leave and other related concerns. On April 25, they graduated from the Wage and Hour Division's Basic 1A training at a ceremony in Virginia Beach, Va. The event capped their successful completion of a three-week course covering the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act and the principles of customer service. These technicians and assistants are often the first voice that the public hears when calling a division office, and routinely provide guidance on the many laws that the agency enforces. There are more than 200 Wage and Hour Division offices throughout the country with trained professionals ready to help. Members of the public can call 866-4US-WAGE(487-9243) for assistance with wage-related questions or concerns.

Learn More About WHD


Weekly UI Claims

The department reported the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial Unemployment Insurance claims was 324,000 for the week ending April 27, a decrease of 18,000 from the previous week. The four-week moving average was 342,250, down 16,000 from the previous week's revised average.

Read the News Release


EBSA — Taking the Mystery Out of Retirement Planning Workshop

May 7 — Seattle, WA

MSHA — Southern Regional Mine Rescue Contest

May 7 — New Iberia, LA

OFCCP — Best Practices for Implementing an Affirmative Action Program

May 14 — New Orleans, LA

OFCCP — Compliance Assistance / Outreach and Education Event for Prime and Subcontractors

May 16 — Richmond, VA

OFCCP — Compliance Assistance Seminar: Supply & Service Contractors

May 8 — Nashville, TN
May 15 — Nashville, TN
May 29 — Nashville, TN

OFCCP — Construction: Nuts and Bolts

May 14 — Dallas, TX

OFCCP — Construction Requirements

May 3 — Columbus, OH

OFCCP — Disabled Youth Forum: Employment for Tommorrow

May 9 — Arlington, MA

OFCCP — "Empowerment Session" on Developing AAPs for New and Small Supply and Service Contractors and Outreach Best Practices for a Diverse / Inclusive Workforce

May 16 — Richmond, VA

OFCCP — Good Faith Efforts to Accomplish Goals

May 15 — Orange, CA

OFCCP — Good Faith Efforts to Successful Outreach

May 6 — Milwaukee, WI

OFCCP — Nuts and Bolts of Construction Evaluations and Best Practices for Minority/Female Utilization Goal Attainment

May 30 — Baltimore, MD

OFCCP — Retaliation Complaints

May 16 — Omaha, NE

OFCCP — Women in Nontraditional Jobs / The Complaint Process

May 15 — Columbus, OH

OFCCP — Veterans Job Fair and Employment Workshop & Webinar

May 13 — Boston, MA

OFCCP — Veterans Career Fair

May 15 — Boston, MA

WB — Latina Health Awareness Event

May 11 — Philadelphia, PA


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What's New

Major Commitments From Employers to Boost Veterans Hiring

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks during a Joining Forces initiative employment announcement for veterans and military spouses, in the East Room of the White House, April 30, 2013. Stage participants included, from left, Dr. Jill Biden, Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy). Click to view a larger photo.

America's businesses have hired or trained 290,000 veterans or military spouses in response to President Obama's challenge to the private sector in August 2011, nearly triple the original goal of 100,000. The good news was announced at an April 30 White House event, attended by acting Secretary of Labor Seth D. Harris. The event commemorated the two-year anniversary of First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden's Joining Forces Initiative. The announcement included additional commitments from private sector companies to hire another 435,000 veterans and military spouses over the next five years. In a separate announcement the previous day at the White House Forum on Military Credentialing and Licensing, the administration unveiled the IT Training and Certification Partnership, a new public-private initiative that will enable thousands of service members to earn industry-recognized IT certifications before they transition from military service. This partnership will provide opportunities for up to 161,000 service members to gain nationally portable certifications necessary for 12 high-demand technology professions.

Learn About the Joining Forces Initiative
Read the First Lady and Dr. Biden's Op-ed on Veterans' Hiring
Learn About the IT Training and Certification Partnership

American University Holds Symposium on 100 Years of Labor

Dr. James Goldgeier, Dean of AU's School of International Service, greets Acting Secretary Harris in the atrium of the newly renovated SIS Building on AU's Northwest Washington, DC campus. View the slideshow for more images and captions.

For one day last week the School of International Service at American University in Washington was transformed into centennial central as Department of Labor officials took part in a symposium on the history of labor and employment relations in the United States. During his keynote address, acting Secretary Harris addressed the changing nature of the department's work and the steadfast importance of the department's mission. "Through world wars, a Great Depression and a Great Recession, natural disasters, 9/11 and numerous other crises, the department has been responsive and resolute — adapting to new conditions and adopting new tools to continue upholding the dignity of work," Harris said. "Yes, the economy has changed. Yet, the Labor Department's mission remains the same. And its work has never been more relevant and indispensable to opportunity, prosperity, and the future of America's middle class," he continued. Following the keynote speech, Harris sat down with the dean of AU's School of International Service, Dr. James Goldgeier, for an extended interview covering the changing nature of labor relations as diplomatic relations and the need to move from a catch-me-as-you-can regulatory environment to one where employers ultimately take responsibility for compliance. Solicitor Patricia Smith and acting Deputy Undersecretary of Labor for International Affairs Carol Pier also addressed the audience on current efforts to carry out the mission of the department.

View the Slideshow
Read Harris' Remarks


National News

'We Can and We Must Save More Lives'

Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, welcomed Labor Department employees and safety advocates to an event commemorating Workers' Memorial Day on April 29, 2013. View the slideshow for more images and captions.

"We can and we must save more lives — with even stronger enforcement, even better training and outreach," said acting Secretary Harris at an event commemorating Workers' Memorial Day at the department's Frances Perkins Building on April 29. Following Harris' remarks, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Joseph Main, and family members of fallen workers reflected on the lives of their lost loved ones. Michaels moderated a panel discussion on the safety of temporary and contingent workers with Chris Owens, executive director of National Employment Law Project, and Alma Couverthie, director of the Welcome Center and Education at CASA de Maryland. "Many of those killed and injured are temporary workers who often perform the most dangerous jobs, have limited English proficiency, and are not receiving the training and protective measures required," Michaels said. "Workers must be safe, whether they've been on the job for one day or for 25 years." Michaels also announced an initiative to further protect temporary employees from workplace hazards.

View the Slideshow
Read the News Release
Read the President's Proclamation
Read Harris' Remarks

Workers Memorial Day Commemorated Across the Country

U.S. Department of Labor employees joined workers from federal, state and civilian sectors April 25 in front of the State House in Boston, Mass., to honor workers who were killed, injured or suffered from illness on the jobs in 2012. Click to view a larger photo.

Workers, families, government officials and advocates gathered over the past week at dozens of events across this country to mark Workers' Memorial Day. Senior staff from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration took part in more than 40 observances from coast to coast. In Philadelphia, department staff joined nearly 300 people representing the families of worker fatality victims, the labor community and government at the 25th Annual Workers Memorial Day Ceremony sponsored by the Philadelphia Area Project on Occupational Safety and Health. Chris Matthewson, the Denver regional labor liaison, rang a bell in honor of 64 workers who died in Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Utah and Wyoming during fiscal year 2012. Jennifer A. Casey, a trial attorney in the Denver solicitor's office, called out the workers names at a Workers' Memorial Day tribute at the Red Rocks Community College in Lakewood, Colo., on April 26. OSHA staff also joined more than 100 people in Oakland, Calif., for a Workers' Memorial Day event co-sponsored by the California-based organization WorkSafe and by the Labor Occupational Health Program from the University of California, Berkeley.

See Workers' Memorial Day Events Around the Country


Take Three: TAACCCT

Last month, the department announced the availability of $474.5 million in the 3rd round of funding for the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant program. Acting Secretary Harris takes three questions on how these investments strengthen the U.S. workforce.

What impact has the TAACCCT grant program had on preparing workers for high-growth jobs? I've had the opportunity to visit many community colleges that have received TAACCCT funding recently. These programs are providing their students with high-quality training, industry-recognized credentials and access to good jobs in less than two years — and many much faster than that. The most important factor in their success is the close collaboration they have developed with local employers in search of skilled workers. This is a win-win-win scenario for workers, employers and local communities. Skills development is the leading edge of economic development and employers look for communities with a robust training infrastructure as deciding factor on where they locate a factory or business because of the availability of qualified workers.

This is the 3rd round of funding available through TAACCCT. What have we learned in the last two rounds that will be applied in this round? The most successful community college programs are the ones that have developed strong employer partnerships. This helps the schools develop the right training programs that will lead to faster employment for their students. As part of the applications for this round, we're asking schools to demonstrate the extent of employer engagement in the program design. We are also encouraging applicants to include more robust work-based training opportunities, such as apprenticeships, internships, and on-the-job training as part of their training programs as well as developing advanced online and technology-enabled learning. Finally, we know that measuring the performance of the grants is critical to improving future training programs, so we're asking all applicants to incorporate third-party independent evaluations as part of their applications.

How can a community college or consortiums apply for funding? Interested applicants should visit the government grant website. I strongly encourage prospective applicants to read previously successful applications on the department grants database. If you are an employer association or trade organization, encourage your members to partner with local community colleges and apply for these funds. Single institutions must apply by June 18 and consortiums have until July 3.

Learn About Applying for Grants
Read Successful Grant Applications


Around DOL

Education and Career Opportunities for Veterans

Acting Secretary Harris  urges veterans to take advantage of the various student and employment benefits and services available to them. View the slideshow for more images and captions.

Veterans and transitioning service members joined representatives from the Department of Veterans' Affairs and several area universities in the department's auditorium on April 30 to discuss the education benefits afforded to veterans through the VA, how to obtain credit for military experience, and opportunities for career advancement. Acting Secretary Harris delivered remarks at the symposium, where veterans also heard about the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the Student Pathways Program and the federal hiring process and from university officials on the role of education in pursuing a career. "Too many veterans simply do not have the support their valor warrants. Too many men and women who wear the uniform return home to find minimal civilian opportunities. But President Obama has begun to change that, by placing the interests of veterans and military families at the forefront of his administration's work," said Harris.

View the Slideshow
Learn About the Federal Pathways Hiring Program
Visit the VETS Website


Of Note

OSHA's Fairfax Says Goodbye

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Richard Fairfax. Click to view a larger photo.

Workers across the nation will lose a trusted ally this week. Following a distinguished career with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Deputy Assistant Secretary Richard Fairfax will retire on May 3. "Rich Fairfax has had a larger impact on OSHA's work, especially our enforcement activities, than any other individual in recent memory," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "I attribute much of our success to his leadership." Fairfax previously served as the director of enforcement programs and acting director of construction programs at OSHA. A certified industrial hygienist, he began his OSHA career in 1978 as a field industrial hygienist. "Rich can retire knowing that because of his work, countless injuries and fatalities have been prevented, and many, many workers have gone home safely to their families at the end of their work shift," added Michaels. Greg Baxter, OSHA's regional administrator in Denver, will serve in an acting capacity pending the selection of a replacement.


DOL Working for You

'Gold Card' Helps Iowan Veteran Land Employment

Tamara Brus. Click to view a larger photo.

Shortly after Army National Guard veteran Tamra Brus returned from deployment in Afghanistan the company she worked for was sold and her position eliminated. Her seven months of unemployment "was a rollercoaster ride" of uncertainty, she said, until she asked Jeff Fischer, veteran's representative at Iowa Works, for help. Fischer, a Navy veteran, enrolled Brus in the Gold Card initiative, a joint effort of the Employment and Training Administration and the Veterans' Employment and Training Service. The program provides unemployed post-9/11 era veterans with intensive and follow-up services they need to succeed in today's job market. They met every few weeks to discuss and improve her resume, test her interview skills and match Brus' background in supply logistics to

Jeff Fischer. Click to view a larger photo.

local job openings. Fischer said his job is "to develop a plan for employment that is consistent with that vet's goals and follow through to accomplish that." Brus did her part — she applied "to about 70 jobs and kept track of progress on a spreadsheet." She also graduated from a community college with a liberal arts degree. When Brus applied for a position at a local health care facility, Fischer helped her through a mock interview, and Brus now works as an administrative assistant to that facility's chief of staff.


DOL in Action

New York Diner Owners to Pay $500,000 to Workers

The owners of an East Meadow, N.Y., diner will pay more than $500,000 in back wages and liquidated damages to 72 underpaid employees as the result of a joint investigation by the Wage and Hour Division, the Nassau County District Attorney's Labor Unit and the New York State Labor Department. Owners George Strifas and Thomas Strifas also pleaded guilty to violations of state laws. The joint investigation was WHD's first collaboration with a prosecutor's office involving New York's Wage Theft Act. "The results send a clear message to employers that there are real consequences to wage theft and cash off-the-books payments, that underpaying your workers is not the way to do business," said Wage and Hour Division District Director Irv Miljoner.

Read the News Release
Learn About Minimum Wage and Overtime Requirements

Alabama Manufacturer Cited Following Worker Fatality

Globe Metallurgical Inc. has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with five safety violations following a worker fatality. An inspection was conducted after a worker fell off a fixed ladder and died while working in a feeder tunnel at the company's Selma, Ala., facility. Three repeat violations include failing to protect workers from floor openings, not ensuring that all safety railings met minimal standards and exposing workers to electrical hazards. Two serious violations include exposing workers to unguarded equipment and fire/explosion hazards from combustible dust accumulation.

Read the News Release

Louisiana Contractor Settles Hiring Discrimination Case

Bertucci Contracting Co. LLC, a federal contractor, has settled allegations of hiring discrimination against minority job applicants at its Jefferson, La., facility. Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs investigators determined that the company's hiring process violated Executive Order 11246 by creating a disparate impact on African-American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American job seekers. Fourteen qualified minority applicants were denied the opportunity to fairly compete for positions as laborers and deckhands. Under the terms of the conciliation agreement, Bertucci will pay $70,000 in back wages and interest to the affected workers and extend at least six offers of employment — with retroactive seniority — as positions become available.

Read the News Release

Maine Contractor Faces Fines for Excavation Hazards

A Gardiner, Maine, contractor faces more than $76,000 in fines after Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors found employees working in an unguarded 7-foot deep excavation. There was not an adequate protective system in place to protect the Everett J. Prescott Inc. employees against a cave-in and trained supervisory personnel failed to remove workers from the hazardous area until necessary precautions could be taken. OSHA had cited Prescott for similar hazards in 2009. As a result, OSHA cited the contractor for two repeat violations.

Read the News Release

Tulsa-based Dentist Sued to Recover Retirement Funds

Tulsa-based dentist Dr. Debra S. Gill and her company, Debra S. Gill, DDS, PC, have been sued in an effort to recover more than $15,000 in employee retirement funds. The department's lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Oklahoma, alleges that Gill violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by using assets belonging to the employee retirement plan for the benefit of the company. The department seeks a court order requiring the restoration of all plan losses and to bar Gill from serving in the future in any plan capacity.

Read the News Release

Serious Safety Violations Found at Dolco Packaging Corp.

Dolco Packaging Corp., a division of TekniPlex Inc., has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with 12 serious safety violations following an inspection at the company's Lawrenceville, Ga., plant. The serious violations include failing to protect workers from exposure to hot surfaces, failing to develop written machine-specific procedures for controlling the unexpected release of hazardous energy during maintenance and servicing and not providing lockout/tagout training for workers performing equipment maintenance and servicing. Dolco Packaging Corp. produces foam containers for storing perishable food. Penalties of $64,100 have been proposed.

Read the News Release

Ex-Union Office Manager Sentenced for Embezzlement

A former office manager of Laborers Local 32, located in Rockford, Ill., was recently sentenced to 17 months in prison for embezzling funds belonging to the union that had employed her. An investigation by the Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General found that Grace Rathke stole money that union members had paid in cash, and falsified records to conceal the theft. Rathke was also sentenced to three years of probation and was ordered to pay full restitution totaling more than $200,000. Earlier this year, Rathke pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $190,000 from the union between November 2004 and March 2009.

Read The Department of Justice News Release

Penalties Proposed for Repeat Safety Violations

DG Barrett Plumbing and Heating in Philadelphia has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for three repeat and four serious violations, including excavation hazards. The repeat violations include the lack of a protective system for workers in an excavation, lack of barrier for the spoil pile and inadequate training regarding the hazards associated with excavation activity. The serious violations were cited for the company's failure to provide a hazard communication program, including information and training to workers on the hazards associated with the use of lead to seal pipe joints, and failure to provide head protection in an excavation. Penalties of $40,480 have been proposed.

Read the News Release

New Supervised Union Election in New Mexico

The department recently settled a lawsuit against International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 611, located in Albuquerque, N.M. The suit was filed after an Office of Labor-Management Standards investigation found that an employer's e-mail system was improperly used to transmit a partisan campaign letter to Local 611 members during the union's September 2011 election of officers. As a result of the settlement, the department will supervise new nominations and a new election for the offices of business manager/financial secretary, vice president, recording secretary and treasurer by the end of August.

Anheuser-Busch in Houston Exposed Workers to Carbon Dioxide

Anheuser-Busch Cos. LLC in Houston has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with one alleged willful and five serious violations. The complaint inspection revealed that the company failed to protect workers from exposure to carbon dioxide and other workplace hazards while working in brewery cellars. OSHA alleges the company willfully failed to consider the carbon dioxide atmosphere in the brewing cellars to be immediately dangerous to life or health while also failing to identify respiratory hazards. A penalty of $88,000 has been proposed.

Read the News Release

Montana Company Cited After Fatal Bear Attack

A wildlife casting agency, Animals of Montana Inc., has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration following the mauling death of a 24-year old trainer. The worker was cleaning the enclosure for captive-bred grizzly bears at a Bozeman, Mont., facility when the mauling occurred. "This is a tragedy that could have — and should have — been prevented," said Jeff Funke, OSHA's area director in Billings. "The use of a secondary holding area while cleaning cages is standard practice when working with animals capable of being dangerous to workers responsible for their care."

Read the News Release

Safety Violations Found at Hawaii Hotel

A Hawaii hotel has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with 14 violations following a regularly scheduled inspection under a local emphasis program for hotels. Halekulani Corp., owner and operator of Halekulani Hotel in Waikiki Beach, faces $49,000 in fines. The safety and health violations involve personal protective equipment use and availability, fire extinguisher maintenance and inspection, and a lack of safe electrical work practices by maintenance workers. The five-star hotel employs more than 800 people who service more than 450 rooms.

Read the News Release

Inspection Finds Lack of Fall Protection by Florida Roofing Company

Longwood, Fla.-based Collis Roofing Inc. has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for exposing workers to fall and other hazards while they were performing roofing work at three residential sites in Jacksonville, Oviedo and Palm Harbor. Two inspections were initiated in November 2012 and a third in December 2012 after OSHA inspectors observed employees without fall protection. Three willful violations involve the employer allowing employees to work on elevated surfaces without fall protection These inspections were all part of the agency's local emphasis program on fall hazards in construction. Penalties of $213,300 have been proposed.

Read the News Release

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