Category archives for Low-wage work
In February 2017, garment workers in Myanmar, who were enraged by abusive and illegal working conditions, stormed their factory and smashed $75,000 worth of equipment. The worker revolt revealed the broken promises of international clothing brands that sweatshop apparel production would lead to better lives and “empowerment.”
Federal contractors receive billions in public funds despite wage violations; Alabama’s auto industry putting workers’ lives in danger; OSHA delays life-saving silica standard; and Maryland and Nevada legislators approve paid sick leave measures.
California farmworkers living in fear of deportation; Ontario health care workers call on officials to address violence in the workplace; West Virginia legislators consider dramatic loosening of mine safety standards; and thousands of workers get ready to strike on May 1.
Former head of the federal Wage and Hour Division talks about efforts under Obama, challenges under Trump; news releases on OSHA enforcement actions disappear from its website; Texas lawmakers propose bills to improve farmworker housing conditions; and congressional Republicans vote to roll back OSHA reporting rules.
Navy shipbuilders get lucrative contracts despite worker safety violations; Baltimore airport executive cited in worker retaliation case; thousands of California workers have potentially harmful blood lead levels; and immigrant workers lose their jobs after joining national protests.
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.