Category archives for Labor Rights
A recently published book– “Fake Silk: The Lethal History of Viscose Rayon” by occupational health physician Paul Blanc – is an historical investigation of the use of carbon disulfide throughout the world to make products. The book describes how the making of rayon led to suicides and caused neurologic deaths of workers exposed to the toxic chemical… and it “names names” of those involved … during two World Wars. We have all heard about lead and asbestos and the legacy of death they created… but none of us has heard this meticulously researched investigative story before.
Seven years ago this week, six workers were killed in a massive explosion at the site construction site for the Kleen Energy power plant in Middletown, CT. Congressman Joe Courtney (D-CT), along with Democratic colleagues from the House Education and the Workforce Committee, marked the occasion by introducing the Protecting America’s Workers Act.
The Trump Administration is gearing up to make Federal OSHA as under-resourced and ineffective as it can. Our strategic response has to be more than simply defending the status quo ante; we have to rebuild the social movement that was powerful enough 50 years ago to force another right-wing Republican president, Richard Nixon, to support and sign the OSH Act in the first place.
Obama-era labor veterans worry about the future of worker protections; a draft Trump executive order would allow employers to discriminate based on their religious beliefs; coal miner rulings offer a look at the legal philosophy of Trump’s Supreme Court nominee; and Iowa Republicans move to gut union rights.
Not violating federal labor law seems like a commonsense precursor for being awarded lucrative federal contracts. House Republicans, however, disagree.
Mass firings, blacklisting of fired workers, indefinite detentions of union leaders and worker rights advocates in Bangladesh threaten the fragile gains in workplace health and safety in the garment industry. International clothing brands and retailers are being petitioned to reverse the firings, release the detained, and respect the basic rights of garment workers.
I can thank the Trump Administration for providing a new phrase to describe how the poultry industry distorts information about working conditions in its plants. Assertions about injury prevention and medical treatment are debunked in a new paper published in the Journal of Safety Research.
A survey of 300 garment workers in Los Angeles provides insight on the unsafe and unhealthy conditions they experience while they meet consumer demand for trendy fast-casual clothes.
The New York Times interviews current, former workers at restaurants run by Trump’s labor secretary nominee; Kentucky lawmakers move to weaken unions; Maryland county votes to raise the minimum wage to $15; and Houston’s new police chief calls for better mental health services for police officers.
A just published book – Refinery Town: Big Oil, Big Money and the Remaking of an America City – describes how a decade of local organizing and year-round campaigning has resulted in impressive local victories in a Black, white and Asian town dominated by Chevron corporation. Richmond, California, has set an example and registered successes by local left wing campaigners that contain important and hopeful lessons about uniting allies and successfully defending health, safety and democratic rights.