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July 3, 2013
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Winner of AVA Digital 2013 Gold Award - Interactive Communication - E-Newsletter

After the Ravages of War,
Rebuilding a Continent

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

One of the more underappreciated stories of the post-World War II era is the role the Labor Department played in the vast economic development project undertaken in what has become known as the Marshall Plan. Named for Secretary of State George C. Marshall and largely spearheaded by that department, the Marshall Plan involved huge investments in European economies and is credited with helping Western Europe (and its 270 million people) regain its prosperity after the devastation of the war. The Marshall Plan's Technical Assistance Program has been called "the largest and most comprehensive program of assistance to civilian industry ever undertaken," and the Bureau of Labor Statistics was an integral part of that program. Its statistical surveys of American productivity and the subsequent recommendations it made for European industry helped to modernize production throughout Western Europe. The man who oversaw these efforts as secretary of labor was Maurice J. Tobin, who was appointed to the office in 1948. Born in 1901 in the Mission Hill

Maurice J. Tobin is sworn in as U.S. Secretary of Labor, as Helen Tobin (center) looks on. Credit: Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, National Archives and Records Administration. Click for a larger photo.

neighborhood of Boston, Tobin served as mayor of Boston and governor of Massachusetts before leading the department. Before the end of his term, Tobin would have to turn from peaceful rebuilding and return to the management of wartime labor supply with the onset of the Korean War and the creation of the Defense Manpower Administration in 1950.

Read "The Forgotten Story"
Explore the Centennial Timeline
Watch the Centennial Video

Minimum Wage Myth Buster

Myth: Increasing the minimum wage is bad for the economy.

Not true: Since 1938, the minimum wage has been increased 22 times. Over the last 75 years, real gross domestic product per capita has steadily increased, even when the minimum wage has risen.

Learn More About Minimum Wage History
Subscribe to Minimum Wage Updates

Work In Progress: The Best of Our Blog

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

Premier Mine Safety Training Facility Opens: As someone who has experienced it firsthand, Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health Joseph Main knows how crucial training and preparation can be for personnel involved in the extreme conditions of mine rescue operations. In this post, he writes about a trip to the opening of Alpha Natural Resources' Running Right Leadership Academy in Julian, W.Va. The new mine safety education and training center is a state-of-the-art skills and mine emergency facility that will be used to train miners, mine managers, mine rescue teams and others. Main describes how the cutting-edge technology deployed at the site will improve rescue techniques, writing that "these training opportunities and advanced technologies will enhance safety and health in our nation's mines and, ultimately, save miners lives."

Going Digital: New X-Ray Technology in Black Lung Claims: In another post about the benefits of technology for protecting workers, Steven D. Breeskin, director of the Division of Coal Mine Workers' Compensation at the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, explains a new direct final rule and a companion proposed rule from his agency adopting and updating standards for administering and interpreting digital X-rays in claims involving the brutal disease pneumoconiosis, also known as black lung disease. In the last 20 years, film-based technology has been rapidly replaced by digital radiography in medical facilities, and these standards will allow both film and digital X-rays to be given equal importance in claims adjudications.

Join Us for a #VetsJobsChat on Employment Resources for Disabled Veterans: On Wednesday, July 10, from 2-3 p.m. EDT, the department will host its third Twitter Town Hall on veterans employment resources. This notice describes who will be on hand to answer questions and encourages veterans and their friends and families across the country to submit questions using the hashtag #VetsJobsChat.

Performers With Disabilities

Robert David Hall, co-chair, SAG-AFTRA National Performers With Disabilities Committee with Kathleen Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for Disability Employment Policy at Actors Access for Performers with Disabilities at SAG-AFTRA headquarters in Los Angeles, June 28, 2013. Photo credit: Tom Flynn/SAG-AFTRA. Click for a larger photo.

For actors looking for work, it's all about getting the attention of casting directors. That just became a bit easier for performers with disabilities, who can now choose to self-identify on a website that is widely used for casting. During an event hosted by the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists on June 28 in Los Angeles, more than 100 performers with disabilities, along with union representatives and casting directors were invited to watch a demo of a new feature that allows casting directors to search one mainstream database for actors with disabilities. According to Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez, the technology will enable television, film and theater productions to more accurately portray the American scene by reflecting real people with disabilities. "This new tool is an outgrowth of the summit discussions we initiated three years ago with the Diversity Committee of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences about the need for people with disabilities to be able to see themselves reflected both in front of and behind the camera," said Martinez. "The ability for actors to self-identify easily and for casting directors to have instant access to their disability status information is a real breakthrough in our efforts to promote inclusion in the entertainment industry."

Partnering in Pittsburgh

OSHA, union and company representatives join together following fall protection and heat stress outreach in Pittsburgh, Pa. Click for a larger photo.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration took its Heat Illness and Fall Prevention campaigns on the road in May and June. Along with the Pittsburgh Regional Building and Construction Trades Council, OSHA delivered its safety message to 17 area union apprenticeship schools from May 28 to June 7. On June 28, OSHA addressed attendees at a fall protection training event sponsored by P.J. Dick Corp. The training took place through OSHA's PNC Tower Construction Project Partnership and brought together representatives from the partnership construction site and several of the building trades' union apprenticeship schools. The partnership encourages joint cooperation between OSHA, P.J. Dick Corp. and trade contractors to foster a safe work environment for all project employees involved in the ongoing construction of The Tower at PNC Plaza in Pittsburgh.

Learn About Heat Illness and Fall Prevention

Advocating for Worker Justice

Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Director Patricia A. Shiu (on left) and National Employment Lawyers Association Executive Director Terisa E. Chaw at the Summit for Workers' Rights in Denver, Colorado, on June 27, 2013. Photo courtesy of NELA. Click for a larger photo.

"Justice cometh in the morning," proclaimed Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Director Patricia Shiu in an address before the 2013 annual convention of the National Employment Lawyers Association. Speaking to nearly 500 civil rights lawyers in Denver on June 27, Shiu said, "The only way to safeguard the hard-won civil rights of the 20th century is to fight like hell for them in the 21st century." NELA is a nonprofit organization that seeks to advance employee rights and serves lawyers who advocate for equality and justice in the American workplace. Prior to joining the Obama administration, Shiu held multiple leadership roles in the organization.

Read the Address

New York, Atlanta and Data

The Bureau of Labor Statistics' Current Population Survey is a good tool for examining changes in self-employment in New York City, BLS Commissioner Erica L. Groshen said in remarks to the New York Federal Reserve Bank on July 1. Groshen discussed nonfarm employment estimates and the generally small size of the revisions to those estimates. On June 28, Groshen spoke to labor market information directors from most states and territories at the LMI National Conference in Atlanta. "We are partners in these endeavors and, by working together, I believe we can continue to provide the best possible value to our nation's data dollars," Groshen said. While in Atlanta, Groshen, who took office as commissioner in February, visited the local BLS regional office as part of her "listening tour" to learn more about the agency and its customers.

Promoting Summer Jobs

Jay Williams, director of the Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers, traveled to Michigan in late June to promote summer jobs for youth and encourage greater enrollment in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. Since the recent recession, summer jobs have become harder to find and youth unemployment remains at elevated levels. To address this issue, local elected officials and business owners are partnering to develop plans to hire more youth. On June 25, Williams participated in roundtable discussions in Detroit and Flint. These gatherings focused on developing partnerships between the cities and philanthropic organizations to connect teens with summer internships and jobs once they graduate from high school. Williams wrapped up his Michigan trip on June 27 at Oakland University in Rochester. His remarks focused on the Obama administration's efforts to assist small businesses in filling the skills gap and expanding technical training programs to enroll more students.

Read About Youth Jobs Program

Affordable Care Act Update

Individuals will be able to buy insurance through the Affordable Care Act's health insurance marketplaces beginning in October, and now is the time to spread the word. Assistant Secretary for Employee Benefits Security Phyllis C. Borzi urged participants at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials to do just that during remarks at the group's 30th annual conference on June 27 in Chicago. Borzi discussed the many benefits that the Affordable Care Act provides and the importance of continuing outreach to educate the public about the law. The Affordable Care Act website has been relaunched in English and Spanish, and questions can be asked through the national call center at 1-800-318-2596.

Learn About the Law

Less is More With Streaming Data

A recent issue of NextGov, an electronic technology newsletter, highlighted the department's government-leading approach to publishing large amounts of information through an application programming interface. API is a set of software instructions and standards that allow one computer to continuously receive updated information from another. While many agencies are faced with technology and cost challenges associated with maintaining multiple APIs, the department — following industry trends — started with a centralized system. When the Office of Management and Budget's deadline passed for two datasets through APIs, the department had 175 available through a single system for programmers to use to build data-driven websites, mobile applications and more.

Read the Article
Learn About APIs

Breaking Down Barriers

(Left to right) Helen Solis (OSHA), Robin Mallett (WHD), Patricia Byrd (OFCCP), Joe Bontke (EEOC) and James Shelton (OSHA) pose in front of a display at the 2013 Outreach and Educational Symposium in Houston.  Click for a larger photo.

Reducing barriers to employment is a complicated task that requires cooperation. That was the theme of Houston Mayor Annise Parker's keynote address at the 2013 Outreach and Educational Symposium, which brought together hundreds of federal contractors, community-based organizations and business representatives. The department cohosted the June 27 event in partnership with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Greater Houston Industry Liaison Group. The Wage and Hour Division, Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs led workshops on topics such as Family and Medical Leave Act amendments, Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspections and Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs compensation guidelines.

Outreach to Hawaii's Lao Farmers

The department's Wage and Hour Division is strengthening its outreach efforts to agricultural workers and farming communities in Hawaii. Representatives of the division's Honolulu District Office are working directly with Hawaii's Lao community to raise awareness about workers' rights. On June 29, Wage and Hour Division representatives went on the air with local radio station KNDI to address how the department can help ensure employees' rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act and those under the Migrant and Seasonal Worker Protection Act.

Weekly UI Claims

The department reported the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial Unemployment Insurance claims was 343,000 for the week ending June 29, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week. The four-week moving average was 345,500, down 750 from the previous week's revised average.

Read the News Release

Calendar Highlight

Join the Chat on International Worker Rights and Child Labor

The Bureau of International Labor Affairs will host a live web chat on July 10, 10:30 a.m. to Noon EDT, to answer questions about grant solicitations to protect worker rights, combat child labor and promote youth employability in several countries worldwide. The application period is now open.

Learn About the Web Chat

Upcoming Deadlines & Events

Open Funding Opportunities

EBSA — Getting It Right: Know Your Fiduciary Responsibilities Seminar

July 11 — Overland Park, KS
July 23 — San Diego, CA

EBSA — Health Benefits Laws Compliance Assistance Seminar

July 16 — Richmond, VA
July 23 — Orlando, FL

OFCCP — Common Problem Areas for Federal Contractors

July 10 — Detroit, MI

OFCCP — Compliance Assistance for New/Small Contractors

July 16 — Chicago, IL

OFCCP — Construction and Compliance Webinar

July 17 — Detroit, MI
July 25 — Richmond, VA

OFCCP — Construction Requirements

July 25 — Columbus, OH

OFCCP — Developing Written Affirmative Action Programs

July 11 — Omaha, NE

OFCCP — DOL Information & Outreach Forum

July 24 — Denver, CO

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

July 18 — Baltimore, MD
July 18 — Baltimore, MD

OFCCP — Internet Applicant Rule Refresher

July 25 — Omaha, NE

OFCCP — Organizational Profile and Job Group Analysis

July 31 — Milwaukee, WI

OFCCP — Preparing Small and New Supply and Service Contractors for an OFCCP Audit

July 7 — Pittsburgh, PA
July 10 — Pittsburgh, PA
July 10 — Boston, MA
July 16 — Philadelphia, PA
July 17 — Boston, MA

OFCCP — Records Retention and Internet Applicant Requirements

July 17 — Milwaukee, WI

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

July 10 — Columbus, OH
July 12 — Detroit, MI
July 24 — Detroit, MI

OFCCP — Workers' Rights

July 17 — New Orleans, LA

OWCP — Town Hall Meetings to assist Nuclear Weapons Workers

July 17 — Portsmouth, OH

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

July 17 — Kokomo, IN
July 23 — San Diego, CA
July 25 — Chicago, IL

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What's New

Water, Rest, Shade logo: The work can't get done without them.

Meteorologists, Weather Service, OSHA Team Up to Beat the Heat

Worker getting water.

Television and radio meteorologists across the country play an important role in protecting the public when heat waves and high temperatures strike. On July 1, weather forecasters from English and Spanish news media outlets participated in a conference call to discuss the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Heat Illness Prevention Campaign. Led by Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels and Director of the National Weather Service Dr. Louis Uccellini, the call focused on the public health benefits of providing life-saving information to outdoor workers at risk of excessive heat exposure, including temporary workers not acclimated to high temperatures. Uccellini discussed the heat outlook this summer and the inclusion of worker protection information in heat warnings from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. Michaels fielded questions and highlighted OSHA resources to educate employers and workers. "It's my hope that with all of us working together we can build a network of weather broadcasters who can respond quickly to extreme heat and get our message to workers all across our nation when they need us the most," Michaels said. This marks the campaign's third year.

Listen to the Audio of the Call
Learn About the Heat Campaign

News You Can Use

Benefits.gov Goes Mobile

Benefits.gov has launched a mobile compatible version of its website. The official benefits website of the U.S. government, Benefits.gov has enhanced its site for visitors using mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. The changes make it easier for the public to access government benefit and assistance program information anytime, anywhere. "Opening up these resources to mobile devices moves Benefits.gov in the right direction, creating an easier experience for the public to access government benefit and eligibility information," said Al Sloane, Benefits.gov program manager. Mobile access to Benefits.gov increased by more than 200 percent in the last year.

Read the News Release

Next DOL #VetsJobsChat: Veterans with Disabilities

Vets Chat Poster: Have questions about employment resources for disabled veterans? Join the US Department of Labor/@USDOL and VSO partners for a Twitter chat Wednesday, July 10, 2pm EDT. Use the hashtag #VetsJobsChat to ask questions and join the conversion. Click for a larger photo.

The third Twitter town hall on veterans employment issues will be hosted by acting Secretary of Labor Seth D. Harris on Wednesday, July 10, from 2 to 3 p.m. EDT. After launching these chats in May — in which veterans posed questions about employment services to departmental experts — each chat has expanded in scope and brought together a greater coalition of organizations and institutions devoted to helping veterans find jobs. This time, the chat will focus on employment services for veterans with disabilities, with the participation of the Veterans' Employment and Training Service, the Office of Disability Employment Policy, several national veterans service organizations, employers, representatives from local American Jobs Centers, experts from the armed services and more. Use the hashtag #VetsJobsChat to submit questions leading up to the chat or during the live hour-long conversation. You can also email your questions in advance.

Email Questions Early to Contact.VETS@dol.gov
Read a Recap of the Latest #VetsJobsChat

New Minimum Wage Resource

Although the federal minimum wage is currently set at $7.25 per hour, 19 states and the District of Columbia have higher rates. Ever wonder which ones? The federal minimum wage has increased 22 times since 1938. Interested in how the economy has performed since the wage was first established? For answers to these and other questions, visit the department's new Web resource on the minimum wage. It contains information about whether young workers are entitled to earn the minimum wage, and what the wage is for tipped workers. You can also view a recent White House conversation on raising the minimum wage, hear from workers on how such an increase would benefit them and their families, and follow the Twitter conversation.

Visit the Minimum Wage Resource

International Scene

Tracking Labor Inspections in El Salvador and Honduras

A $1.5 million grant solicitation announced by the Bureau of International Labor Affairs on July 1 will fund one or more projects to strengthen the information systems used to manage labor inspections and labor cases in El Salvador and Honduras. As part of the Dominican Republic-Central America-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, signatory countries are obligated to effectively enforce their labor laws. The project will provide technical assistance designed to integrate labor case management systems of the labor inspectorates and labor courts within each of the two countries, making it possible to track cases from intake by labor inspectorates through resolution in the courts.

Read the News Release

Grant to Support Young African Leaders Initiative

A $3 million grant solicitation will be awarded to help Ugandan youth develop marketable skills and serve as civic leaders in their communities. The grant is part of the Bureau of International Labor Affairs' African Youth Empowerment and Development Initiative, which is designed to support President Obama's Young African Leaders Initiative. The president's program is focused on investing in the next generation of African leaders and strengthening partnerships between the United States and Africa. The grant will address exploitative child labor by providing vulnerable youth ages 14 through 18 with education and vocational training and, for those of appropriate age, decent work opportunities. It also is intended to promote leadership, entrepreneurship and civic engagement by youth within their communities.

Read the News Release
Read About the Young African Leaders Initiative

Around DOL

Remembering the Legendary Bessie Margolin

Marlene Trestman tells the amazing journey of the life and career of Bessie Margolin, an unsung government contributor and labor leader. View the slideshow for more images and captions.

In commemoration of its centennial year, the department welcomed Marlene Trestman, author of "Fair Labor: The Remarkable Life and Legal Career of Bessie Margolin," to participate in its ongoing Donald Shire lecture series in Washington on June 28. A pioneering leader among women, Bessie Margolin was a legendary attorney in the Office of the Solicitor from the 1930s to the 1970s. Margolin successfully argued more than two dozen cases in the U.S. Supreme Court, prevailing in 21 of them. After nine years of research and many years of friendship, Trestman, a former mentee of Margolin's, draws upon memories of Margolin's career, influence and work in her biography. Trestman and Margolin shared similar backgrounds. Both women grew up in New Orleans and attended the same high school, were raised with assistance from the same Jewish social services agency, and eventually traveled north to pursue distinguished legal careers. Trestman recalls her first impressions of Margolin. "Bessie Margolin was the most dignified, worldly woman I have ever met," she said. Trestman currently is special assistant to the attorney general of Maryland. The Donald Shire lecture series offers presentations highlighting the careers and contributions of those who have served in the Office of the Solicitor. It was established in 2006 as a tribute to Shire, who retired after 41 years of distinguished service with the department.

View the Webcast
View the Slideshow

A Remembrance Quilt for Nuclear Weapons Workers

Rachel Leiton, director of the Office Workers' Compensation Programs' Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation and Gary Steinberg, director of the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, take a moment to observe the quilt during its showcase near the Hall of Honor in the Labor Department's Frances Perkins Building. View the slideshow for more images and captions.

A handcrafted remembrance quilt honoring the nation's nuclear weapons workers of the past century currently is on display at Labor Department headquarters. The quilt, spanning nearly 11-by-17 feet, is a unique mosaic of 1,040 squares completed by workers or surviving family members. It represents over 25,000 years of service by the more than 700,000 people who worked in nuclear facilities beginning with the Manhattan Project through the end of the Cold War. The workers remembered in the quilt covered 250 facilities and 4,000 uranium mines, and many became ill due to radiation exposure or other toxic substances. Since 2011, the quilt has traveled to historic locations nationwide, courtesy of the Cold War Patriots organization. It often serves as the centerpiece for the Oct. 30 National Day of Remembrance for Nuclear Weapons Program Workers. Department visitors can view the display, hosted by the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs' Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation, near the Hall of Honor until July 10.

Read About the Remembrance Quilt
Learn About the National Day of Remembrance
View the Slideshow

Making Informed Financial Choices

As part of the Office of Disability Employment Policy's ongoing collaboration with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Assistant Secretary of Labor Kathy Martinez addressed a group of about 40 CFPB professionals during a "lunch and learn" session on June 27. Martinez spoke about the unique economic challenges and barriers that workers with disabilities face in the areas of asset development and financial capability, and described ODEP's efforts to help those workers access financial services. After her formal presentation, Martinez engaged in a lively dialogue with CFPB staff about workers with disabilities who lack access to traditional financial services, face discrimination in getting credit or applying for loans, and fall prey to predatory lending practices. "ODEP looks forward to working with CFPB to ensure that those most at risk of abusive financial practices — including people with disabilities — have access to the resources they need to make informed financial choices," she said. The following day, ODEP hosted CFPB Office of Financial Empowerment Director Cliff Rosenthal during a similar lunch session for ODEP staff. Cliff shared recommendations that CFPB received in its recent "Request for Information on the Financial Challenges of Individuals with Disabilities," and he discussed opportunities for the two agencies to collaborate on information dissemination, technical assistance and policy development.

DOL Working for You

Marine Veteran Maintains September 11 Memorial Museum

Nelson Baez.  Click for a larger photo.

New Yorker Nelson Baez wanted to escape his family's poverty in the Spanish Harlem tenements where he grew up. So he joined the Marine Corps, where he became accomplished in electronics as a field radio operator, and ultimately he turned his skill into a successful small business. When the economy soured and work dried up, Baez joined America Works New York, a departmental grantee that helped him update his resume, prepare for job interviews, and outfitted him with a suit, transit fare and a confidence boost. "I thank God

Patrick Combs. Click for a larger photo.

every day that they helped me get my life back on track," Baez said. According to America Works veterans' representative Patrick Combs, Baez "had a lot of potential and a desire to improve." Combs helped Baez get a full-time maintenance position at the National September 11 Memorial Museum, located at the World Trade Center site.

DOL in Action

Grants to Assist Ohio and Illinois with Storm Cleanup

National Emergency Grants were awarded by the department on June 28 to assist in cleanup after severe storm and flood damages sustained by Ohio and Illinois. A $2.5 million grant supplement was awarded to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Nearly 1,400 temporary jobs will be created to help with ongoing recovery efforts following severe storms and flooding in 21 counties of southeastern Ohio between April 4 and May 15, 2011. The department also awarded a $2 million grant for cleanup and recovery efforts following severe storms, straight-line winds and flooding in 40 counties throughout Illinois between April 16 and May 5, 2013. Awarded to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the funds will be used to create approximately 110 temporary jobs to assist with recovery efforts.

Read the Ohio News Release
Read the Illinois News Release

Settlement Agreement With Postal Service

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has signed a nationwide settlement agreement with the U.S. Postal Service and American Postal Workers Union. Among the terms of the agreement, signed on July 1 and designed to improve worker safety in postal facilities around the country, USPS has revised its written policies and procedures on electrical work, will assign a trained electrical work plan coordinator at each facility to ensure compliance, retrain workers performing electrical work to comply with OSHA requirements, and provide additional training for supervisors and workers on electrical safe-work practices. The agreement concludes negotiations stemming from inspections at 42 USPS sites in 2009-2010 that found violations of OSHA standards on electrical work practices.

Read the News Release
Read the Settlement Agreement

Kentucky Coal Company Violated Miner's Rights

A Madisonville, Ky., mining company violated the anti-discrimination provisions of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 when it sued a miner for filing a discrimination complaint following his job termination. That's according to an administrative law judge with the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission. The miner, who had worked for Armstrong Coal Co., Inc., and Armstrong Fabricators Inc., until September 2011, filed a complaint with the Mine Safety and Health Administration, claiming he was discharged in retaliation for his safety activities at the mine. Although MSHA declined to pursue the case, Armstrong filed a civil tort suit against the miner in state court, seeking compensatory and punitive damages. Judge Jerold Feldman ruled against the company, stating, "Miners must be free to file safety-related complaints regardless of whether they are ultimately determined to be meritorious." Joseph A. Main, the assistant secretary of labor who heads MSHA, agreed. "The judicial process cannot be used to violate the rights of a miner under the Mine Act," he said.

Read the News Release

Texas Meat Packer Faulted on Safety Management

Caviness Beef Packing Ltd. in Hereford, Texas, was cited with 25 safety violations and proposed penalties totaling $120,000 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for deficiencies in its process safety management program and various workplace hazards. OSHA's Lubbock District Office initiated an inspection in January under the agency's Process Safety Management Covered Chemical Facilities National Emphasis Program. Under PSM, companies must proactively address hazards associated with processes and equipment that use large amounts of hazardous chemicals. In this case, the chemical was anhydrous ammonia in the refrigeration system. The PSM violations included failing to develop a written plan of action to ensure worker involvement in the PSM program; conduct inspections and tests of process equipment, such as compressors and pressure vessels; and conduct an investigation following the release of ammonia from a leaking shaft seal on a compressor.

Read the News Release

Brothers Indicted on Charges of Obstructing Investigation

Two brothers who owned and managed the El Toro Market in Hemet, Calif., have been charged by a federal grand jury in a scheme to obstruct a 2008 investigation by the department. Investigators determined the brothers failed to pay $47,155 in overtime to 13 employees. The store's general manager has been arrested; his brother remains at large. The indictment alleges a plot to make false statements and obstruct an investigation. The indictment also charges obstruction of justice for attempting to coerce employees to lie about receiving their back pay. Brothers Jafar and Jalal Rahman have been charged with one count of conspiracy, eight counts of making false statements and eight counts of obstruction of proceedings. Each charge carries a statutory maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. Jafar Rahman also is charged with four counts of obstruction of justice, each of which carries a 20-years prison sentence.

Read the Dept. of Justice News Release

Illinois-Based Grain Handling Facility Cited for Safety Violations

Great Western Products Co., a grain handling facility, has been cited for 33 safety and health violations, including three repeat and 24 serious violations. The citations follow three inspections by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and carry penalties of $93,250. Twelve of the serious violations involve grain handling standards at the company's Assumption, Ill., facility, which handles raw grain before processing and packaging it for distribution as popcorn. The violations include exposing workers to engulfment hazards in bins storing corn. Three repeat safety violations involve failing to implement and maintain a written hazard communication program, provide workers with hazardous chemicals training in their work areas, and conduct periodic inspections of and train workers on energy control procedures. The same violations were cited in May 2010.

Read the News Release

Louisiana Hospital Owners Sued Over Retirement Benefits

Owners of Doctors Hospital in Shreveport, La., violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 by using assets belonging to the employee retirement and insurance plans for the benefit of their business operations. According to a lawsuit filed by the Employee Benefits Security Administration, for three months prior to the hospital's closing, owners David and Chris LeBlanc used employee retirement contributions and insurance premium payments to run the hospital and pay creditors. EBSA is seeking a court order requiring the restoration of all plan losses and barring the LeBlancs from serving in any capacity in an employee benefit plan. The facility ceased operations in February 2010.

Read the News Release

Electronics Recycling Facility Exposes Workers to Cadmium

RSR Partners, operating as Regency Technologies, has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 11 health and safety violations, carrying proposed fines of $66,000. Nine of the violations cited involve exposing workers to cadmium, a metal found in the components of some televisions and other electronics equipment, at the Upper Sandusky, Ohio, electronics recycling facility. Additionally, two serious health violations were cited for failing to train workers in bloodborne pathogen standards and lack of hepatitis B vaccinations for bloodborne pathogen exposure.

Read the News Release

New Jersey Grocer Sued for Child Labor Violations

Mi Esquina Corp., doing business as Paterson, N.J., grocer El Nuevo Bodegon, has been sued by the Wage and Hour Division for violating the child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. According to an investigation, a 17-year-old minor lost his right arm below the elbow when it was crushed by a meat grinder. Investigators found that the minor used, operated and handled a meat grinder, slicer and cutter daily as part of his duties in the butcher section of the store, in violation of the FLSA's Hazardous Occupations Order No. 10, which prohibits minors from operating power-driven meat processing machines. In addition, the employer failed to maintain any records of the injured minor, including proof of age as required by law. The company faces $40,350 in penalties.

Read the News Release

Illinois Scrap Metal Recycling Center Fined $64,680

Midland Davis Corp. has been cited for 19 safety violations, carrying proposed fines of $64,680. The citation follows an April inspection by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration at the Moline, Ill., scrap metal recycling center. OSHA initiated the inspection under the Site-Specific Targeting Program, which focuses on employers who record a higher-than-average injury and illness rate. Midland Davis was cited for two repeat safety violations for failing to conduct periodic inspections of energy control procedures and failing to train and evaluate each power industrial vehicle operator. The same violation was cited in April 2012 at the company's Pekin, Ill., facility.

Read the News Release

Furniture Maker to Pay California Workers Back Wages

Furniture designer S.O.L.E. Design Inc. and manufacturer Best Upholstery Inc. have agreed to pay $72,472 in back wages and liquidated damages to 21 current and former employees following an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division. Investigators found the El Monte, Calif., company violated the Fair Labor Standards Act's overtime, minimum wage and record-keeping provisions. A federal court also has ordered the company to pay more than $6,000 in penalties because of the willful nature of the violations. Investigators found that the company falsified payroll records by excluding overtime hours worked by the employees. Many workers were not paid overtime premium, and several received less than the federal minimum wage.

Read the News Release

Home Detention for Union Embezzler

Deborah Small, former bookkeeper for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 712 in Beaver, Pa., recently was sentenced to 10 months of home detention and five years of probation, and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $75,285 for embezzling union funds. Small pled guilty in February in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania in Pittsburgh to one count of embezzlement. The plea and sentencing followed an investigation by the Office of Labor-Management Standards, which disclosed that Small embezzled the money using a variety of methods: petty cash, extra salary checks, unauthorized health care reimbursements and a complicated receipts scheme.

Overtime Abuses by New Orleans Market Lead to Lawsuit

New Orleans-based Ideal Discount Market has been sued by the department following a Wage and Hour investigation that found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act's overtime and record-keeping provisions. The lawsuit seeks to recover unpaid overtime compensation for 55 current and former employees, including cashiers, cooks, butchers and floor stockers. Investigators found that employees worked up to 13 hours per day six days a week, but were paid "straight time" for all hours. The defendants also failed to keep and maintain records of all hours worked for its employees and provided investigators with incomplete and altered time cards, as well as incomplete payroll records and employee rosters that omitted former employees who worked during the investigation period.

Read the News Release

South Carolina Company Sued for FMLA Violations

A lawsuit has been filed by the department seeking back wages and liquidated damages for a former employee of Staples Contract and Commercial Inc., in Columbia, S.C. The suit follows an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division that found the employer failed to notify an employee of his rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act despite being aware of the employee's need to take leave to care for his spouse. The department is requesting a permanent injunction against the company to prevent future FMLA violations.

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