The modern workplace and its challenges: The Labor Research and Action Network welcomed Wage and Hour Division Administrator Dr. David Weil to address its annual conference this year. Speaking on June 15 at the Georgetown Law Center in Washington, D.C., Dr. Weil outlined his agency’s work to analyze and respond strategically to emerging business models in the 21st century workplace that blur the once-distinct relationship between employer and employees. He challenged researchers and practitioners to focus on the changes in the modern workplace and do work that explores and builds upon the strategic approach being taken by Wage and Hour. LRAN is composed of workers' rights organizations, academics and students working together to assure workers have a voice in the workplace and are economically empowered.
Cal/OSHA’s senior safety engineer Vicky Albano shakes hands with WHD’s regional administrator Ruben Rosalez, during the garment industry inter-agency joint task force meeting in Los Angeles.
United against sweatshops in Los Angeles: Wage and Hour Division staff met with local, state and federal partners at the division’s district office in Los Angeles on June 8 to strengthen the united fight against labor violations at all levels of L.A.’s garment industry. Agenda topics included updates on joint trainings, case referrals and future joint enforcement at the contractor, manufacturer and retailer levels. “Retailers, manufacturers and contractors must do more to end the sweatshop-like working conditions that we have seen in this industry in Los Angeles and Southern California. Our united, comprehensive fight against this underground economy, along with an increasingly conscientious consumer, continues to be pivotal forces against this labor and societal malady,” said Ruben Rosalez, the division’s regional administrator.
Claims’ assistance for former nuclear industry workers: More than 250 current and former nuclear industry workers and their survivors gathered at town hall meetings and traveling resource centers in Grand Junction, Colo., and Moab, Utah, on June 10 and 11 and in Bridgeton, Mo., on June 16 and 17. Office of Workers' Compensation Programs hosted the event, where representatives shared information about the medical benefits provided under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act. They also helped file claims for eligible Department of Energy nuclear weapons workers and their families.
Improving Safety and Health
Mine emergency response is key topic at safety conference: Safety and health experts from around the U.S. representing all sectors of mining gathered in Virginia Beach, Va., June 9-11 for the first joint meeting of the Joseph A. Holmes Safety Association and the Holmes Mine Rescue Association. Workshop presentations included an update on mine emergency response, risk and readiness assessments, virtual reality in mine rescue, and preventing post-traumatic stress among emergency rescuers. More than 175 people attended the three-day conference.
Dr. Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for OSHA, discusses recent agency actions at the NACOSH meeting.
Advisory committee meets: At a June 18 gathering of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health in Washington, D.C., Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels discussed recent agency actions, the financial costs of workplace injuries, and the challenges faced by all employees. “The work that you are doing to help us improve our guidance to employers on protecting temporary and contract workers is invaluable,” Dr. Michaels said. NACOSH represents the interests of the public, employers, employees and states. It also advises, consults with and makes recommendations to the secretaries of Labor and Health and Human Services on matters relating to the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
OSHA safety inspector Clarence Moore discusses the dangers of working in high heat.
Postal employees take a stand-down: More than 100 employees at the U.S. Postal Service’s Brentwood Station in Raleigh, N.C., recently participated in a safety stand down as part of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Heat Illness Prevention Program. An OSHA inspector discussed the dangers of working in extreme heat and factors that contribute to heat illnesses. Highlighting the training was a demonstration and explanation of the agency’s improved Heat Safety Tool mobile app.
In Other News
New election for Letter Carriers union: The National Association of Letter Carriers has agreed to hold a new mail ballot election in October for the director of retired members, a new officer position. The election will be supervised by the Office of Labor-Management Standards, which investigated the union’s October 2014 election and found that an eligible candidate was improperly disqualified when he attempted to accept a nomination by signing a form with an electronic signature. The union represents more than 275,000 active letter carriers and retired members.
Florida union to elect president: Communications Workers of America Local 3122, based in Miami and representing more than 1,700 members, agreed to conduct a new election for president. An OLMS investigation found that the union failed to conduct its November 2014 officer election by secret ballot. Also, it did not provide adequate safeguards to ensure a fair election when candidates were allowed to serve on the election committee. OLMS will supervise the new vote, which will be completed by Aug. 31.