Editor’s Note: This post provides the highlights of the department’s activities in recent days. To view previous posts in this series, click here. To get back to the newsletter, click here.
Protecting Wages and Benefits
Secretary Perez on "Morning Joe"
Championing an increase in the minimum wage: Business leaders, grassroots advocates and others led last year's effort to raise the minimum wage in Nebraska, increasing it in phases to $9 per hour by 2016. U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez pointed to Nebraska's action during an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” noting that proposals to raise the minimum wage historically have drawn bipartisan support. Perez was in Kansas City, Mo., on August 18 when interviewed as part of his pre-Labor Day tour of five cities over two weeks. An issue that he has heard in his travel, Perez said, is "how do you make sure that workers have a meaningful voice in the workplace." The nation has created 13 million jobs over the last 65 months, Perez said, asking, "How do we make sure that this wind at our back results in shared prosperity?"
Nina Nguyen, Radio Saigon talk show host, interviews Houston District Office Wage and Hour investigator Phuong Bui (right).
Houston radio station breaks down barriers for Vietnamese community: Creating awareness about worker rights in the Vietnamese community helps protect the workers from falling victim to wage violations and, in turn, informs employers of their lawful obligations. In a live broadcast on Aug.12 at Radio Saigon 900, Phuong Bui, an investigator in the Wage and Hour Division’s Houston District Office, addressed rights and responsibilities under the Fair Labor Standards Act in their native language. The Houston office works closely with the Vietnamese American Network Television on a quarterly basis to provide information on wage and hour laws, enforcement initiatives and answer questions from the Vietnamese community.
Deputy Secretary Lu delivers the keynote address at the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance Convention in San Diego.
Lu addresses labor leaders: During a recent visit to San Diego, Deputy Secretary of Labor Chris Lu delivered the keynote address at the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance Convention. Lu spoke to a gathering of more than 500 union members, community partners and young leaders about the challenges that continue to face American workers. Highlighting the valuable work that the department is doing – such as advocating for a minimum wage increase and paid leave policies, and recovering back pay for low-wage workers – Lu remarked: “I am confident that with the collective heart and energy of the people in this room – and everyone who advocates on behalf of workers – we can create the more perfect union that all of us believe should exist in this country.”
Improving Safety and Health
Deadline for advisory board nominations extended: The deadline to submit nominations for members to sit on a new advisory board on nuclear weapons worker health has been extended to Sept. 4. Nuclear weapons workers face unique workplace hazards, and the department relies on science and medicine to understand the relationship between occupational toxic substance exposure and disease. The new board will advise the secretary of labor on these and other aspects of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program.
In Other News
Ed Hugler, Anna Dozier, and Kevin G. Stricklin.
Still time to vote for Sammies People’s Choice: Don’t forget to cast your vote in the 2015 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals People’s Choice Award. From nearly 500 nominations across the federal government, 30 were selected to be Sammie finalists. All 30 finalists are vying for the Sammies’ inaugural People’s Choice Award. You can vote once each day for as many candidates as you want. The poll will close on Sept. 30 with the winner announced at the 2015 Sammies gala on Oct. 7 in Washington, D.C. The three finalists from the Labor Department include Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management Ed Hugler, Kansas City-based senior Employee Benefits Security Administration investigator Anna Dozier and Mine Safety and Health Administrator for Coal Mine Safety and Health Kevin G. Stricklin.