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More than $1.6M in unpaid overtime for 1,543 workers in the Gulf Coast recovered by US Labor Department

Today’s post was shared by US Labor Department and comes from www.dol.gov

News Release

WHD News Release: [07/10/2014]

Ongoing initiative reveals evasive pay practices in the temporary staffing industry

HOUMA, La. — B & D Contracting Inc., a labor recruiting and staffing agency that caters to oil field services and maritime fabrication facilities along the Gulf Coast, has agreed to pay $1,660,438 in back wages to 1,543 current and former employees. An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor found that the company engaged in improper pay and record-keeping practices that resulted in employees being denied overtime compensation in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The employees were assigned to client work sites throughout Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to work as welders, pipe fitters and shipfitters.

Investigators from the Wage and Hour Division’s New Orleans District Office found the company mischaracterized certain wages as per diem payments and impermissibly excluded these wages when calculating overtime premiums, denying employees earned overtime compensation.

"Temporary staffing agencies serve valuable and legitimate business needs in today’s economy," said Dr. David Weil, administrator for the Wage and Hour Division, "But employers may not manipulate these arrangements and use evasive pay practices to avoid paying workers their rightful wages."

"The labor violations we found in this case are not unique to B & D Contracting Inc.," said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the…

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National Prevention Council Annual Status Reports

Today’s post was shared by US Labor Department and comes from www.surgeongeneral.gov

Every year, the Council submits a report describing national progress in meeting specific prevention, health promotion, and public health goals defined in the National Prevention Strategy to the President and the relevant committees of Congress.

National Prevention Council’s 2014 Annual Status Report

The National Prevention Council’s 2014 Annual Status Report illustrates how Council departments are working across the federal government to incorporate health in diverse sectors like housing, transportation, and education to advance the Strategy and influence the health of individuals, families, and communities. In addition, the report highlights how partners across the country are advancing the National Prevention Strategy in organizations ranging from health care systems to workforce agencies and national foundations to local non-profits.  

Read the National Prevention Council 2014 Annual Status Report (PDF – 4.8 MB) 

The above file is currently undergoing remediation for compliance with Section 508. The remediation will be complete by July 31, 2014. In the interim, should you need accessibility assistance with the file, please contact the Office of the Surgeon General at Surgeon.General@hhs.gov.

Previous Annual Status Reports

Read the National Prevention Council 2012 Annual Status Report  (PDF – 490 KB)

Read the National Prevention Council 2011 Annual…

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Lawsuit claims DEA paid man with crack

Today’s post was shared by The Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group and comes from krqe.com

ALBUQUERQUE (AP) – Federal agents paid a struggling addict in crack cocaine for his help with an undercover investigation into a Las Vegas, New Mexico drug operation, a new lawsuit claims.

According to court papers filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque, Aaron Romero, 38, was approached by DEA agents in 2011 to assist with drug deals in exchange for portions of the drugs obtained by authorities. But Romero’s participation in “Operation Smack City” reignited a previous crack addiction as he became a victim of recklessness on behalf of DEA agents, causing severe emotional and physical harm, the lawsuit said.

“The United States government and the defendants affirmatively and intentionally established a pattern of distribution of crack cocaine to (Romero) in order to utilize his addiction to crack cocaine to further the investigation and to ‘stack drug related charges’ against him,” the lawsuit said, which names five DEA agents.

Romero was later charged with distribution of drugs but federal prosecutors dropped the charges in January, according to his attorney, Erlinda Ocampo Johnson.

The lawsuit says the arrangement was in violation of DEA policy since the agency did not get prior approval from prosecutors.

Elizabeth Martinez, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Albuquerque, said the office declined to comment on the case.

“He was targeted because he was a known drug addict,” Johnson said….

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OSHA Chief: Inequality in America Is About Workplace Hazards, Too

Today’s post was shared by Gelman on Workplace Injuries and comes from www.nbcnews.com

Image: Assistant Labor Secretary David Michaels of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration attends a full committee hearing on Capitol Hill on June 23 in Washington, DC.
Image: Assistant Labor Secretary David Michaels of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration attends a full committee hearing on Capitol Hill on June 23 in Washington, DC.

Inequality and poverty have taken center stage in American politics in the years since the recession. Fast food workers have raised the profile of low-wage work, cities and states around the country are raising the minimum wage, and elected officials in both parties have made the struggles of poor Americans core political issues.

But David Michaels, Ph.D., M.P.H., who leads the Occupational Safety and Health Administration under the Obama administration, says that workplace inequality is more than just wages. In an interview, Michaels, who is responsible for enforcing federal laws to project workers from illness and injury, says the regulatory structures he oversees aren’t sufficient to protect vulnerable workers from harm.

NBC: The political conversation about inequality in recent years has focused on wages. You’ve made the point that when addressing inequality, we should focus more on workplace health and safety issues. Why?

Michaels: Wages are clearly a core component of the discussion of inequality and the ability to get into and stay in middle class. But workplace health and safety issues also have an enormous impact. Workplace injury and illness can push workers out of middle-class jobs and make it hard to enter into the middle class in the first place.

Studies show that workplace injury…

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Medicaid Home Care Cuts Are Unjust, Lawsuit Says

Today’s post was shared by The Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group and comes from www.nytimes.com

A federal class action lawsuit filed late Tuesday accuses New York State health officials of denying or slashing Medicaid home care services to chronically ill and disabled people without proper notice, the chance to appeal or even an explanation, protections required by law.

The lawsuit, filed in United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, names three plaintiffs: an impaired 84-year-old woman living alone in Manhattan, a frail 18-year-old Brooklyn man with severe congenital disabilities, and a 65-year-old Manhattan man with diabetes and a schizoaffective disorder. But it was brought by the New York Legal Assistance Group on behalf of tens of thousands of disabled Medicaid beneficiaries who need home health care or help with daily tasks like bathing and eating.

It represents a challenge to an ambitious Medicaid overhaul by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo that shifted $6 billion in public spending on long-term services, including home care, to private managed care companies that are paid a fixed sum for each enrollee. The goal of the overhaul, which was set in motion in 2011, was saving money and improving the coordination of care. But advocates for aged and disabled people have complained that in the scramble for the most lucrative enrollees, companies are shunning frail people with the greatest needs and signing up those who could be given minimal services.

The lawsuit, filed against the state commissioners of the Department of Health and the Office of…

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Top 10 Careers For College Grads To Consider

Today’s post was shared by US Labor Department and comes from storify.com

Top 10 Careers For College Grads To Consider

As recent grads are hitting the job market, many are asking, "What career paths are offering the best opportunities for me right now?" All of these careers were selected based off of our Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data on median annual salary, current employment, projected growth through 2020.

byU.S. Department of Labor@usdol

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OFCCP Opening Doors General Audience Short

Today’s post was shared by US Labor Department and comes from www.dol.gov

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Transforming Apprenticeships for the 21st Century

UPS apprenticeship

Today’s post was shared by US Dept. of Labor and comes from social.dol.gov

On Wednesday, President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden visited Pennsylvania to announce new actions to enhance job-driven training across America. A key focus of the president’s remarks was how apprenticeships are one of the clearest paths to good, high-paying jobs. As he mentioned, 9 out of 10 apprentices get hired for full-time jobs after completing their program, and the average starting wage for apprenticeship graduates is more than $50,000. Expanding apprenticeship opportunities will give more Americans a chance to secure a foothold in the middle class.

Several new efforts will help double the number of apprenticeships over the next five years, a goal the president laid out in his State of the Union address. For the first time, the Labor Department is making $100 million available help more workers participate in apprenticeships. The grant competition will launch this fall and will be funded by fees employers pay through the H-1B visa program to hire temporary high-skilled foreign workers.

Using these existing funds, the new American Apprenticeship Grants competition will focus on partnerships between employers, labor organizations, training providers, community colleges, local and state governments, the workforce system, nonprofits and faith-based organizations. These partnerships will help expand tried-and-true apprenticeship models to newer, high-growth fields like information technology, health care and advanced manufacturing; making sure…

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