The first headquarters for the U.S. Department of Labor was located in the Willard Building on 14th Street,
across from the famous Willard Hotel and near the White House. In 1914, a year after the department was established, the headquarters
was transferred temporarily a few blocks away, to the Mills Building, at the corner of 17th and Pennsylvania
Avenues, NW. In 1917, DOL employees moved to the brand new "Department of Labor Building" at 1712 G Street, NW. All three buildings are
no longer standing. More than a half century later, the "New Department of Labor Building" was completed, and in 1975, employees
begin "moving in." The building was officially named after Labor Secretary Frances Perkins in 1980 and remains "DOL HQ."
Marking the second anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, Secretary Solis joined Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner Wednesday to celebrate the work of staff from across the government to ensure affordable access to health insurance and preventive services. "You have changed the fate of our nation," Solis said. "Because of your hard work, the middle class, the working poor, and the unemployed have been spared the worry of going broke just because they get sick."
Shiu: Hiring Challenges Solvable
Pat Shiu knows that disabled doesn't mean unable. At the American Association for People with Disabilities' 10th annual Leadership Awards Gala last week, the director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs acknowledged the difficulties faced by many qualified workers with disabilities who struggle to find meaningful employment. "It is a persistent, intractable and insidious problem," she told the audience of 800. "But it is also an eminently solvable one." She complimented the efforts of business leaders who have demonstrated a commitment to creating job opportunities for people with disabilities and emphasized OFCCP's commitment to level the playing field for employers, workers and job seekers.
Harry Alford, president of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, joined Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez last week for a meeting with small business representatives to gain insight into their priorities, practices and needs when it comes to attracting, hiring and retaining workers with disabilities. It was the third meeting on the Office of Disability Employment Policy's "Add Us In" initiative, which aims to assist small businesses in employing people with disabilities. Participants met in work sessions to identify and develop strategies for increasing the capacity of small businesses to employ youth and adults with disabilities.
As part of a White House series of economic forums, Secretary Solis joined forces with Magic Johnson last week in Los Angeles to talk about developing entrepreneurs in urban communities. The discussion, aimed at profiling the urban entrepreneur, was hosted by Los Angeles Times Business Editor John Corrigan before hundreds of local business leaders. Much of the conversation focused on strategies to empower inner-city youth to pursue business ownership. "It comes down to mentorship and setting an example. And current urban businessmen and women know how critical that is because they lived it," said Solis.
Promoting Veteran Hiring from an Aircraft Carrier to Capitol Hill
Deputy Secretary Seth Harris and Assistant Secretary of Labor for Veterans Employment and Training Systems Ismael Ortiz joined Dr. Jill Biden aboard the USS Intrepid in New York City on Wednesday morning for a "Hiring our Heroes" Veterans Job Fair hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The fair, one of several held around the country on Wednesday, featured more than 100 employers with job openings and attracted more than 1,000 veterans. In a separate event, Secretary Solis joined the bipartisan Senate Veterans Jobs Caucus on Capitol Hill to launch the "I Hire Veterans" initiative to encourage members of the Senate and the public to show their commitment to hiring veterans by displaying a simple logo in their offices and businesses.
Director of the Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers Jay Williams traveled to Toledo and Youngstown, Ohio, this past week to discuss the administration's efforts to expand economic activity in manufacturing communities. Speaking to the annual meeting of the Northwest Ohio Regional Economic Development Association, Williams highlighted current initiatives that are accelerating investment and job creation strategies already underway in Northwest Ohio. He then met with community stakeholders about plans to redevelop sections of Youngstown using the Housing and Urban Development Sustainable Communities model.
Advisory Committee Talks Trade
Deputy Undersecretary of Labor for International Labor Affairs Sandra Polaski gave opening remarks at last Friday's meeting of the National Advisory Committee for Labor Provisions of U.S. Free Trade Agreement. The agenda included a discussion on implementation of the labor provisions of free trade agreements, a presentation on the Labor Department's technical assistance efforts in free trade agreement countries, and an overview of a sub-committee report on the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation. The committee is made up of 12 members appointed by the secretary of labor.
The Atlanta Women's Bureau sponsored a Women's History Month program, "Celebrating Women Veterans: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow" last Friday at the Sam Nunn Federal Center in Atlanta. Helen Denton, a retired Women's Army Corps corporal who served as secretary to Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower and typed the battle and supply logistic plans for World War II, was the keynote speaker. More than 130 federal employees attended the program, as did Atlanta's Veterans Affairs Commissioner Pete Wheeler and representatives of Sen. Johnny Isakson. Program participants included retired Maj. Gen. Marcelite Harris, the first African-American woman Air Force general; retired Army Brig. Gen. Sheila Baxter; ROTC student Tiana Lovett and veterans representing six branches of the uniformed services.
Ortiz Celebrates National Veterans' Outreach Program
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Veterans' Employment and Training Service Ismael Ortiz spoke at an American GI Forum National Veterans' Outreach Program 40th Anniversary luncheon in San Antonio, Texas, last week.
"Over the past 40 years, the NVOP has served more than 450,000 veterans, a tribute to their success and responsiveness to our veterans," said Ortiz. "The American GI Forum, and especially the NVOP, are truly a beacon in the community and in our country. You have set the example for the last four decades, and I have no doubts that you will continue to set this example for years to come."
The Labor Department's Chief Economist Dr. Adriana Kugler participated in a panel discussion this week at the Annual Capitol Forum on Hispanic Higher Education organized by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. Kugler spoke about the increased educational attainment of Latinos over the past few decades, but also highlighted the educational gap that Latinos still face relative to other groups. She also emphasized the importance of education in helping Latinos close earnings and unemployment gaps and the role that the department is playing in accomplishing this goal. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, the Pew Hispanic Center's Dr. Richard Fry and Robert Brandon from the Fair Elections Network also participated in the discussion.
Job Corps + Summer Jobs
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Jane Oates joined the staff and students of the Treasure Island Job Corps Center and Jamba Juice Co. President and CEO James D. White in San Francisco on Monday to kick off Jamba Juice's summer hiring efforts. Jamba Juice announced it is recommitting to hiring more than 2,500 young people. This is the second consecutive year the company has participated in the Summer Jobs+ hiring initiative. This year, they formally expanded efforts to including an internship and mentoring program targeting Job Corps students in the culinary arts. The visit included a tour of the Michelle Obama Treasure Island Urban Garden, a culinary tour and a luncheon both featuring work of the center's culinary and advanced culinary arts students. Jamba Juice also interviewed and hired students from the center for summer jobs and internships. "Developing strong partnerships between employers and federal training providers like Job Corps is an important component of an America built to last," said Oates.
Department Hosts Employment Outreach Symposium in Houston
About 200 people representing advocacy groups, community-based organizations and employers participated in a symposium on Thursday sponsored by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and other agencies, in partnership with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Greater Houston Industry Liaison Group. "This partnership affirms a shared commitment to ensuring that all workers have a fair shot at finding, securing, keeping and succeeding in good jobs," said Melissa Speer, regional director of OFCCP. The free event, which took place at the United Way of Greater Houston, seeks to establish outreach and recruitment partnerships.
Atlanta's John Black Honored With Excellence in Trial Litigation Award
John Black, a senior trial attorney in the Atlanta Regional Office, is this year's recipient of the Bobbye D. Spears Award for Excellence in Trial Litigation. Black was presented the award by the Solicitor of Labor M. Patricia Smith in a ceremony Wednesday in Atlanta. The annual award is named in honor of Spears, the first woman Regional Solicitor who throughout her career demonstrated outstanding litigation skills as a staff attorney and as the Regional Solicitor for the Atlanta office. Three major cases Black has litigated are Tyson Foods, United Space Alliance and, most recently, SeaWorld. "Winning this award this year is probably more of an honor because of the fierce competition, lots of nominations and excellent trial work," said Smith.
Women's Bureau Presents Workshop on Pay Equity and Jobs
Nearly 75 students and faculty filled the auditorium of Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, this week to attend
the Women's Bureau's "Women of Excellence Week" event, which focused on pay equity and higher paying jobs. Beverly Lyle, Women's Bureau
regional administrator, introduced the WB's publication, "Why Green is Your Color: A Women's Guide to a Sustainable Career," and moderated
a panel on higher paying jobs for women that addressed the challenges and advantages of pursuing non-traditional occupations.
Wiley College is making the guide available to all students, and offering counseling and career planning services to support it. In addition, a debate on
equal pay was presented later in the day by The Melvin B. Tolson/Denzel Washington Forensic Society. Wiley College gained national fame through the popular
film, "The Great Debaters," which starred actor Denzel Washington.
Three Days, Three Cities, Three Roundtables for Borzi
Phyllis C. Borzi, assistant secretary of labor for the Employee Benefits Security Administration, wrapped up the third of three women's business roundtables during a visit to Miami
last week. In addition to similar meetings in St. Louis and Detroit, the Miami roundtable was an opportunity
for Borzi to share the department's priorities with prominent businesswomen, and address their questions and concerns.
Linking In with Job Web Sites
The International Association of Employment Web Sites held
their Tenth Annual Member Congress in San Diego earlier this week where the focus
was on trends in the labor market and opportunities for job boards. Ben Seigel,
deputy director of the department's Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships,
addressed the audience of more than 100 job board and employment website executives about
the important role they play in providing valuable labor exchange services to America's
job seekers and employers. He also discussed opportunities for job boards to partner with the
department in areas such as job clubs, Summer Jobs+, social media, and mobile applications.
They worked in the grape fields of California and the orange groves of Florida. They spoke up with their voices and with their wallets. They were parents working for a better life for their children. They were well-known advocates whose vision helped change our workforce and our nation. On Monday, Secretary Solis inducted the "Pioneers of the Farm Worker Movement" into the department's Hall of Honor. "The farm worker movement wasn't about just one single person. It was thousands of ordinary people inspired to act with extraordinary courage," Solis told a standing-room only audience of nearly 500 people. Joining Solis at the ceremony were Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Chair of the White House Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz, Secretary of the Cabinet Chris Lu, members of Congress,
community advocates, students, farm worker leaders, and department employees. In her remarks, Solis noted that Jim Mooney, a wage and hour inspector, was a member of the department's first class of 22 farm labor specialists and thanked him "for your lifetime of advocacy for our farmworkers." The event was emceed by actor Michael Pena, who will star in an upcoming film about the life of César Chávez, and included touching remarks from Paul Chávez, the son of César Chávez; Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers; and Arturo Rodriguez, current president of the United Farm Workers of America. Following the induction ceremony, attendees took part in a ceremonial procession across the lobby and were joined by Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Biden, for the official dedication of the department's auditorium in honor of César E. Chávez. The Hall of Honor induction ceremony was the first in a series of year-long events commemorating the U.S. Department of Labor's centennial in 2013.
The department announced the availability of $15 million in grants through the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program that will provide job training services to help approximately 9,000 homeless veterans succeed in civilian careers. "The men and women who have served our country with distinction should not have to struggle to find good jobs when they return from service," Secretary Solis said. Through this initiative, homeless veterans will be provided with occupational, classroom and on-the-job training, as well as job search and placement assistance, including follow-up services. HVRP is the only federal program that focuses exclusively on employment of veterans who are homeless.
Testifying before Congress Wednesday, Secretary Solis discussed the department's priorities for fiscal year
2013 for the third and final time. The hearing before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services,
Education and Related Agencies touched on a number of regulatory and programmatic initiatives. Solis noted that the department's
budget request, while making difficult choices to identify cuts and savings, "makes targeted investments and introduces significant
reforms to give workers a fair shot to gain skills that make them more employable, regain their footing after a job loss, find new employment
opportunities, maintain workplace safety and health, exercise their voice in the workplace, and enjoy critical wage and hour protections."
The Mine Safety and Health Administration's investigation into the April 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine, along
with the subsequent internal review of the agency's own actions, was the topic of Tuesday's hearing by the House of Representatives'
Committee on Education and the Workforce. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Joseph Main testified about steps
his agency has taken since the nation's worst coal mine disaster in four decades. Those changes include stepped-up enforcement of
mines with poor compliance histories, better and more consistent training of federal inspectors, and proactive measures to prevent accidents
and fatalities. "The Upper Big Branch disaster highlighted the need to ensure that mine operators take seriously their obligations instead
of waiting for MSHA to point out problems," Main said. "MSHA cannot be on every shift at every mine, and any effective enforcement regimen
must require operators to take ownership of health and safety at their mines."
Winners of the Imagen Foundation's Latina Leaders award gathered at the Labor Department Wednesday to share their
stories and learn more about how the department is working on behalf of women in the labor force at an event hosted
by Secretary Solis. The honorees came from across the country and represented a wide-range of careers from the arts
to healthcare, the legal world to auto repair. The award was created in 2001 by then Congresswoman Solis and other members
of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Solis congratulated the women on their achievements and urged them to continue
their involvement with their communities.
The Labor Department has lost a long-time advocate of mine safety. Linda F. Zeiler, director of the Office of Technical Support within the Mine Safety and Health Administration, passed away March 16. A 30-year veteran of MSHA, Zeiler began her federal career in 1982 in the agency's Physical and Toxic Agents Division in Pittsburgh, Pa. As a chemist, she analyzed gas samples at mining operations throughout the country where underground mine fires actively burned. She moved to MSHA headquarters in 1995 and was appointed as the designated federal official to an advisory committee studying the health effects of dust exposure on miners. That was followed by an assignment drafting a regulation on air quality and respiratory protection. In 2000, she became deputy in Technical Support and, in 2011, was appointed to the Senior Executive Service, making her one of only two women in a senior executive position within MSHA. "Linda dedicated her professional career to the advancement of MSHA's mission to protect the safety and health of miners," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for MSHA Joseph Main. "She will be deeply missed by her many friends and colleagues."
News You Can Use
Deputy Secretary Harris and Dr. Jill Biden Tour NJ Community College
Following up on the Secretary Solis' "Community College to Career" bus tour in February, Deputy Secretary Seth Harris joined Dr. Jill Biden at Mercer County Community College for a discussion on how partnerships with local employers and business associations can help schools design curriculums that lead to middle class jobs. Harris, Biden and the leadership from MCCC were joined by administrators from four other New Jersey Community Colleges that have formed a consortium for workforce and economic development. The visitors praised the schools' innovative and collaborative approach to working with partners to develop relevant courses and certificate programs for students.
Worldwide Transportation Ideas Shared for Workers with Disabilities
During a meeting co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the American Public Transportation Association last Thursday, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez spoke to representatives of six foreign embassies about the critical need to address accessibility in employment-related transportation worldwide. Martinez provided an overview of the evolution of disability issues in U.S. transportation policy, including the inclusion of key transportation provisions in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. She also discussed the Office of Disability Employment Policy's recent work with the Department of Transportation and 11 other federal agencies under the "United We Ride" initiative, which has been successful in providing transportation options for job seekers and workers with disabilities. A roundtable discussion about experiences and ideas from Japan, England, France, South Korea, the Netherlands, and Taiwan followed her remarks.
Green Technology Offices, Clean Energy, More Jobs
Last week, Secretary Solis toured the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator's new office space as part of the Labor Department's
green jobs initiative to promote investment in clean energy technologies and jobs. Solis was joined by Los Angeles Community Impact
founder Fred Walti, Los Angeles City Councilman Eric Garcetti and managing partner of Craton Equity Partners Tom Soto to examine how
the space will accelerate the development of local startups, offer CEO coaching and mentoring, and provide access to a growing network
of experts and capital. "The clean economy offers more opportunities and better pay for low- and middle-skilled workers. We must
hasten our economic recovery by investing in technologies that will spur employers to offer job training and higher credentials to employees
and job seekers," said Solis. LACI is a nonprofit organization whose partnership with universities exemplifies
a trend toward jumpstarting small businesses and entrepreneurship in local communities.
The Women's Bureau Atlanta Office rolled out the new green jobs guide, "Why Green is Your Color: A Woman's Guide to a Sustainable Career" in a recent workshop at the regional Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference. More than 300 women from around the southeast attended and learned about innovative products, training and programs in the region that promote green jobs and the green economy. The Women's Bureau workshop featured several success stories including contractor Rosalind McGinnis, who implemented the WB's Women Going Green entrepreneurial project; Lucy LaVoulle, who recently launched a new business EcoTraining USA; and Shelly Attix of the Austin Community College, who talked about her collaboration with the WB Dallas office to market the curriculum to women. The event was organized by Women's Bureau Regional Administrator Paulette Norvel Lewis.
DOL Working for You
EBSA Benefits Advisor Steps in to Help
Often group health plan members who contact the Employee Benefits Services Administration are uncertain of how problems with their health insurance might affect their financial well-being. That was the case for a Kansas City, Mo., patient who had been threatened by her local hospital of having her claims taken into collection. Bart Winter, then a benefits advisor in the Kansas City Regional Office of EBSA (now an investigator with the agency), examined the claims and discovered that a review of the patient's prior medical history had been pending for 11 months. "Providers are entitled to a reasonable period of review for pre-existing condition exclusions. Eleven months is not a reasonable period," Winter said. Meanwhile, the patient incurred thousands of dollars in claims that were not processed while the review continued. Winter acted quickly to bring the matter to the attention of the plan's administrator, who agreed to pay $7,400 in claims and bring much-needed relief to the patient.
Job Corps Grad Finds... And Gives Back
Californian José Martinez left rough teenage years behind and enrolled in the San Diego Job Corps to find "stability, direction and a place to cultivate my abilities." After earning his General Educational Development diploma and completing a Career Technical Training course in plumbing at Job Corps, Martinez began an apprenticeship as a Roto-Rooter plumber. Over the years, he obtained a number of certifications in the plumbing industry and now works as a senior utility technician for a local environmental, health, safety and engineering services company. He is also enrolled at a community college. Martinez visits his old Job Corps center and gives inspirational speeches to students urging them to make positive changes in their lives and continue pursuing higher education.
DOL in Action
Advance Notice of Federal Mine Inspectors Still a Serious Problem
Announcing the arrival of federal mine inspectors at mine sites is illegal, but that
has not deterred a number of mine operators from doing so. When mine operators exploit tips
or advance information to alter working conditions, they hinder Mine Safety and Health Administration inspectors
from finding potentially serious safety hazards. Former Upper Big Branch mine superintendent
Gary May recently entered into a plea agreement with the Department of Justice, admitting to
conspiracy to give advance notification of mine inspections, falsify examination record books and
alter the mine's ventilation system before federal inspectors were able to inspect underground. Through these
unlawful practices, May testified that the mine operator was able to avoid detection of violations by
federal and state inspectors.
$56,000 Recovered for Construction Workers in Friona, Texas
Bermea Construction in Friona, Texas, has paid $56,051 to seven laborers, machine operators and foremen following a Wage and Hour Division investigation that found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Employees due back wages had worked as many as 60 hours in a week without receiving overtime compensation. The company also failed to pay wages on scheduled paydays.
A $5 million National Emergency Grant was awarded last Friday by the Labor Department to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry to provide re-employment services to about 1,000 workers affected by the closure of two oil refineries in the commonwealth. The refineries provided jobs at ConocoPhillips' Trainer facility and Sunoco Inc.'s Marcus Hook facility as well as for contractors who were employed at both locations.
$1.3 Million in Back Wages Due to Nearly 500 Restaurant Workers
An ongoing department enforcement initiative focused on the restaurant industry in Massachusetts has uncovered significant violations of the minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. To date, investigations by the Wage and Hour Division have found $1,307,808 in back wages due to 478 employees of multiple establishments. In addition, WHD is assessing liquidated damages, payable to employees, when employers are found in violation.
Employment Assistance for Dislocated Idaho Workers
Approximately 175 workers laid off by Battelle Energy Alliance, Bechtel Bwxt Idaho LLC and CH2M WG Idaho LLC will receive employment and support services under a $1,045,616 National Emergency Grant awarded by the Department of Labor. The contractors worked for the Idaho National Laboratory in Idaho Falls, Idaho. "These workers have specialized skills that don't easily translate to new employers," said Secretary Solis. "The federal grant announced today will help them to more effectively market their current skills and also to obtain new skills needed by growing local industries."
GTO Contractors Cited for Failing to Protect Workers from Falls
Neenah, Wis.-based GTO Contractors LLC has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with six safety – willful, repeat and serious – violations for failing to protect workers from falls. OSHA began an inspection in September 2011 under a local emphasis program on fall protection after inspectors witnessed workers exposed to fall hazards at commercial roofing work sites in Janesville and Middleton, Wis. Proposed penalties total $121,660.
Hospital in American Samoa to Pay $628,000 in Back Wages
LBJ Tropical Medical Center in American Samoa has agreed to pay $628,115 in back wages to 481 employees. The Wage and Hour Division's Honolulu District Office found that the employer failed to pay employees $589,622 in overtime wages and $38,493 in minimum wages for hours worked outside of their scheduled shifts, including through meal breaks.
Jay-Em Aerospace Cited for Failing to Protect Workers
Jay-Em Aerospace Inc. in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with 18 safety and health violations, including one willful safety violation for failing to provide adequate machine guarding on equipment at the aircraft landing gear manufacturer's facility. Proposed fines total $87,200.
The department has obtained a court judgment and order requiring a luxury nail salon and spa located on Manhattan's Upper West Side and its owner to pay 32 current and former employees a total of $235,920 in back wages and liquidated damages to remedy violations of the overtime pay and record-keeping requirements of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. The judgment and order resolve a lawsuit against Cindy's Total Care Inc. and owner Nam Saeng "Cindy" Sim that resulted from an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division which found salon employees were required to work more than 40 hours per week and not paid a premium wage rate for their overtime hours in accordance with the FLSA.
Auto Parts Maker Cited for Exposing Workers to Fire, Other Hazards
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited auto parts manufacturer Sanoh America Inc. with 13 violations, including one repeat, for exposing workers to fire hazards, dangerous fumes and other safety hazards at the company's Findlay, Ohio, plant. Proposed penalties total $83,000.
Business Sued for Wage Violations, Falsifying Signature
The department has filed suit against a Rhode Island aquarium and fish pond business Something Fishy Inc., and its president, Kurt Harrington, for alleged violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. In 2010, following an initial investigation by the Wage and Hour Division, Harrington signed an agreement to pay back wages and provide the division with forms signed by employees verifying receipt of those wages. A subsequent investigation determined that only two employees had been paid back wages, and Harrington had falsified a third's signature. In addition, the defendants had continued to pay workers straight time instead of overtime.
Oil Spill Employees Receiving $191,000+ in Back Wages
Marine Contracting Group LLC has agreed to pay $191,182 in back wages to 184 employees after an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division found Fair Labor Standards Act violations. The Mobile, Ala.-based labor contracting company provided employees to assist with cleanup efforts after the BP Gulf oil spill.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Heritage Industrial Finishing for 26 safety and health violations. OSHA initiated inspections at the company's two Akron, Ohio, facilities, which specialize in commercial/industrial and powdered coating applications, after receiving complaints about workplace hazards. Proposed penalties total $88,200.
Official Sentenced on 107 Counts of Fraud and Identity Theft
Gloria Porter, former president of National Federation of Federal Employees, International Association of Machinists Local 2049 and former secretary-treasurer of the NFFE IAM Army Materiel Command District Council in Las Cruces, N.M., was sentenced to 70 months imprisonment and three years of supervised release after being convicted on 107 counts of fraud and identity theft. Porter also was ordered to pay more than $143,000 in restitution. On June 30, 2011, after a three-day trial, a federal jury convicted Porter on 105 counts of wire fraud, one count of mail fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. An investigation by the Office of Labor-Management Standards found that Porter embezzled money when she obtained an unauthorized debit card on the AMC checking account and used it to make unauthorized cash withdrawals and personal charges. She also submitted false financial reports for the AMC and Local 2049, which included the forged signature of at least one officer.
Legal Action Taken to Restore Contributions to 401(k) Plan
A consent judgment and order resolving a lawsuit filed against Stephen B. Hobbs, former chief financial officer of defunct L.A. Utilities Inc. in Stafford, Texas, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division. An investigation by the Employee Benefits Security Administration revealed that Hobbs failed to forward employee contributions and loan repayments to the company's 401(k) plan in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.
Poultry Processor Fined More Than $187,000 for Safety Violations
KD Acquisition I LLC, doing business as Coleman Natural Foods, has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with 11 safety violations at its KD 4 plant in Gainesville, Ga. Two repeat violations include allowing untrained workers to perform conveyor belt adjustments and a lack of machine guarding. Proposed penalties total $187,100.