Treating pregnant workers right

“Thanks to the work of sponsor Rep. Mary Flowers (D-Chicago), the Illinois House approved House Bill 8, the “Pregnant Workers Fairness Act,” which ensures that pregnant workers are not forced out of their jobs or denied reasonable job modifications to allow them to continue working. The legislation — which promotes the health and economic security of pregnant women, their babies and their families — is championed by Gov. Pat Quinn and now goes to the Illinois Senate.

“The number of pregnancy discrimination cases filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has increased by 71 percent since 1992, and 40 percent of full-time low-wage workers may not decide when to take breaks… Some employers accommodate employees who are hurt on the job or have physical disabilities, yet won’t make minor modifications in job descriptions or workplace conditions for a pregnant worker.”

Read more here at the Chicago Sun Times. 

Tonight: Doing Business with the City of New Orleans

Hosted by Good Work Network // Wednesday, April 16 at 5:30 p.m.

Learn how the City of New Orleans makes contracting opportunities available to the public and gain knowledge about: best practices for submitting a successful bid and how to register as a vendor. Presented by Nathaniel Celestine, Assistant Purchasing Administrator for the City of New Orleans.

You can register here

OSHA follow-up inspection finds 11 workplace violations at US Minerals LLC in Harvey, La


“HARVEY, La. – The U. S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited U.S. Minerals LLC with 11 safety and health violations from a follow-up inspection that began in September 2013 at the Harvey facility. The manufacturer of abrasive blasting and roofing materials faces $77,770 in fines for failing to train and protect workers when entering hazardous confined spaces, implement safe lockout/tagout procedures when maintaining equipment, provide required protection for workers exposed to dangerously high noise levels and ensure forklift operators knew how to work safely.” Read more about this case here.

Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call the Baton Rouge Area Office at 225-298-5458 or OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742 to report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit

Chavez: ‘Migrant workers in the US deserve new laws’

“The newly-released film “Cesar Chavez” depicts the battles the civil rights leader fought while trying to start a union for migrant farm laborers in California in the early 1960s. The organization, now called United Farm Workers of America (UFW), continues to work across the country. Cesar Chavez died in 1993 at the age of 66.”


Read more about the man and the film here


Louisiana Legislature should read the Bible before elevating it

Jarvis DeBerry hits the nail on the head in describing — and decrying — the hypocrisy of the Louisiana state legislature, as it holds up the Bible as our “official state book” while rejecting repeated efforts to help the state’s poor.

Read the full article here

You can watch WJP Policy Advocate Erika Zucker discuss the Labor Committee hearing on the proposals to establish, and raise, the state’s minimum wage on Louisiana: the State We’re In tonight at 7:00 pm on Louisiana Public Broadcasting or on here.

Equal pay: 5 things you need to know

“Women are more likely to work part-time than men. They’re also more likely to work in low-wage service jobs, and have less work experience over time (often because they take time off to care for family). That said, the pay gap itself isn’t a myth. Even after you correct for all these differences, it still exists.”

Secretary is still the most common job for women in the U.S. Photo: Shutterstock

Secretary is still the most common job for women in the U.S. Photo: Shutterstock

As the White House leads another push on equal pay, read more here about the five points on the pay gap that you really need to know.

Gray Market Work


“One of the most significant contributing causes of the widening inequality and insecurity in the American workforce is the accelerating shift to what economists call contingent employment. That means any form of employment that is not a standard payroll job with a regular paycheck. It can take the form of temps, contract workers, part time jobs, or jobs with irregular hours. A study by the GAO found that fully one-third of the US workforce, or 42.6 million workers, was contingent, meaning in a work arrangement that is “not long-term, year-round, full-time employment with a single employer.

“At the heart of contingent work is the misclassification of regular workers as independent contractors, a practices that deprives workers of income, benefits such as workers’ compensation and rights to form bargaining units — and deprives government of tax revenues.

Construction workers carry supplies at the World Trade Center site on Wednesday, October 22, 2008 in New York City. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Construction workers carry supplies at the World Trade Center site on Wednesday, October 22, 2008 in New York City. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

“Some of the employers who misclassify their employees as contractors do so in error, which is perhaps not surprising, given the vagueness of the statutes defining employment and the complexity of the case law. However, in Senate testimony in 2010, Deputy Secretary of Labor Seth Harris charged that “much worker misclassification is intentional.” Employers do this, he continued, in order to reduce labor costs (by about 30 percent), in part by not making required contributions to unemployment insurance and worker compensation funds. By doing so, lawbreakers gain an unfair competitive advantage over honest employers.”

Read the full article here

What is a Right to Work State?

“right-to-work” law is a statute in the United States that prohibits agreements between labor unions and employers. “Right-to-work” laws do not, as the short phrase might suggest, aim to provide a general guarantee of employment to people seeking work, but rather are a government regulation of the contractual agreements between employers and labor unions that prevents them from excluding non-union workers.

“So-called right-to-work doesn’t create an environment that is good for workers or companies. In fact, a recent quality of life report found the bottom five states — Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee and Alabama — are right-to-work states. Meanwhile, four out of five with the highest quality of living — New Hampshire, Minnesota, Vermont and Massachusetts — are free bargaining states.

Right-to-work laws “depress wages, resulting in workers making about $1,500 less than those living in non-RTW states. They are also more likely not to receive health insurance and more likely to work in a dangerous workplace. In addition, it is proven not to be a deciding factor in where businesses locate.”

Read the full article here.

Today is Equal Pay Day

Tuesday, April 8, 2014. Equal Pay Day symbolizes how far into 2014 women must work to earn what men earned in 2013.

“Because women earn less on average than men, they must work longer for the same amount of pay. The wage gap is even greater for most women of color,” says the National Committee on Pay Equity.

The Pew Research Center Reports that “according to the White House, full-time working women earn 77% of what their male counterparts earn. This means that women have to work approximately 60 extra days, or about three months, to earn what men did by the end of the previous year.”

Read more about Equal Pay day here and here.

Paid Sick Leave Law Takes Effect in New York City

Most companies in New York City now have to provide five paid sick days a year for their workers, which means that workers are protected from losing their jobs, or their paychecks, if they get sick, or have to take care of a sick parent or child.

Under a new law, many employees in New York City will receive paid sick leave for the first time. Credit Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

Under a new law, many employees in New York City will receive paid sick leave for the first time. Credit Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

You can find the article on the new paid sick leave law here.