Labor Rights

Category archives for Labor Rights

Mining is one of the most dangerous jobs in America, with more than 600 workers dying in fatal workplace incidents between 2004 and the beginning of July. And many more miners die long after they’ve left the mines from occupational illnesses such as black lung disease, while others live with the debilitating aftermath of workplace injuries. Today, researchers know a great deal about the health risks miners face on the job, but some pretty big gaps remain.

Higher OSHA penalties ahead, discounts on danger remain

Congress fixed a loophole and OSHA penalties will now be adjusted regularly to account for inflation. But if Labor Secretary Perez is serious about leveling the playing field for those who follow the law, he should consider what’s being called OSHA’s “discount on death.”

Detroit Free Press reporters investigate Michigan’s flawed worker safety oversight system; workers in China’s fireworks factories face life-threatening conditions; New Mexico farmworkers win major workers’ comp victory; and OSHA rules in worker’s favor in asbestos retaliation case.

A couple months ago, we reported on a study that found raising the minimum wage to $15 could have prevented thousands of premature deaths in New York City alone. Now comes more science on the life-saving benefits of higher wages — this one found that just a modest increase in the minimum wage could have saved the lives of hundreds of babies. It’s yet another reminder that the movement for a living wage is also a movement toward a healthier nation for all.

Occupational Health News Roundup

An in-depth look at how lobbyists squashed an Illinois bill to prevent discriminatory hiring practices in the temp industry; thousands of coal miners in Kentucky rally to save their health benefits and pensions; Chicago gets closer to a sick leave ordinance; and two workers lose their lives in the Bakken oil fields in the span of a few days.

The road toward eliminating the threat of asbestos has been long, slow-moving, incredibly frustrating and littered with significant hurdles. Thankfully, advocates like Linda Reinstein, who lost her husband to asbestos-related disease in 2003, refuse to get discouraged.

Coal miner, newly retired, but not as miners’ safety rep

Flip Wilson retired months ago after 40 years as a coal miner. Co-workers designated him as their safety representative. He drives 70 miles roundtrip to accompany mine inspectors and ensure the company is following the law.

Reveal investigates the toll of nuclear testing on the country’s “atomic vets”; federal labor officials propose new mining safety rules; D.C. officials vote in support of a $15 minimum wage; and an Amazon employee writes a first-person account from inside one of the company’s warehouses.

A ‘hidden’ workforce of foreign workers at a Tesla plant in California; Illinois legislators pass a domestic workers bill of rights; Congress uses a spending bill to weaken safety rules for truckers; and lawsuits over workplace leave policies spike way up.

Last summer, 25-year-old Roendy Granillo died of heat stroke while he installed flooring in a house in Melissa, Texas, just north of Dallas. His tragic and entirely preventable death marked a turning point in advocacy efforts to pass a rest break ordinance for local construction workers.