President Obama threatened to veto any deficit reduction package that doesn’t include higher taxes on the wealthy. It’s a welcome sign that Obama is demanding that wealthy Americans -- that have seen their incomes and wealth increase dramatically while working families are falling further behind -- do their part.
Republicans, conservative think tanks and pundits are trotting out their standard, and getting somewhat tiresome message points about how taxes on the wealthy will be a “job killer” and that asking the wealthy to do their part for the country is somehow “class warfare.”
“No great project was every proposed in the interest of the great unorganized public that groups of wealth seeking special privilege do not oppose it with a desire to divert the benefits for their personal gain.”
Federal investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the horrific gas pipeline explosion that killed 8 people in the Bay Area city of San Bruno was the result of a “litany of failures” by Pacific Gas and Electric.
Investigators charged PG&E with " poor record-keeping, inadequate inspection programs, and an integrity management program without integrity." According to internal PG&E documents and emails released in the investigation, PG&E had ample warning that the gas lines welds may have had dangerous flaws.
Some hotel guests may be getting a better night sleep these days, but at the expense of the housekeepers who clean their rooms. In what has been called an “amenities arms race,” many hotels now use luxury mattresses that weigh more than 100 pounds. Multiply those 100 pounds by the 16 to 25 beds the typical housekeeper must make up daily. Add to that the extra pillows to be fluffed, thick duvets and decorative bed skirts to be changed, without any reduction in the number of rooms each worker is required to clean. It’s not hard to see how this workload can lead to debilitating, often permanent, back, arm and shoulder, and rotator cuff injuries.
By Donald Cohen There’s an old adage that if you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it. That seems to be the unofficial motto of the United States Chamber of Commerce, which has spent the last forty years repeating (and repeating and repeating) the mantra that government regulations on businesses “kill jobs” and economic growth. But their predictions are repeatedly wrong. The laws that they warned would bring economic ruin have become the basic health, safety, and environmental safeguards we now take for granted.
As the nation approaches the first anniversary of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, opponents are claiming that the new measure is extraordinarily damaging, especially to Main Street. But industry’s alarmist rhetoric bears striking resemblance to the last time it faced sweeping new safeguards: during the New Deal reforms. The parallels between the language used both then and now are detailed in a report released today by Public Citizen and the Cry Wolf Project.
A recent fatal explosion at a Gallatin, Tennessee metals plant fueled by high concentrations of industrial dust highlights the need for action to protect American workers. Unfortunately, the workplace rules that would have prevented the tragedy still don’t exist .
“I can’t see what all this talk is about. How is it wrong for the State to intervene with regard to the working conditions of people who work in the factories and mills? I don’t see what they mean. What did we set up the government for?” (New York Senator Al Smith during debates regarding new health and safety legislation in the state, 1913)
The UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE) co-publishes its eighth Research and Policy Brief, OSHA at 40: Looking Back, Looking Ahead, with the UCLA Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program (LOSH). This brief reviews the accomplishments of OSHA over its 40-year history, highlighting the agency's important role in reducing workplace fatalities and protecting workers in a variety of industries from harm. In the current anti-government political climate, we make the case for robust government regulations backed by scientific evidence and effective enforcement.
“An inquiry by the state of West Virginia into the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion that killed 29 workers has found the mine’s owner, Massey Energy, “profoundly reckless” in elevating its drive to produce profits above worker safety.”
By Donald Cohen. Published in the Los Angeles Times. May 19, 2011.
Every year since 2003, the California Chamber of Commerce publishes its hit list of proposed legislation it labels “job killers.” The list includes legislation to protect consumers, workers and the environment from irresponsible business practices, or raise revenues to fund public services, or support middle and working class families.