Good News for Homecare Workers — Supreme Court Declines to Hear Challenge to Overtime Law

On June 27, as its term ended, the Supreme Court of the United States declined to hear the case of Home Care Association of America v. Weil, closing the door on the industry’s and for-profit companies’ last-ditch attempt to prevent home care workers from keeping their newly-won right to the minimum wage and overtime pay. More about the decision is here.

The National Employment Law Project has a good review of the long road to achieving this important victory for some of our lowest-paid, and most vulnerable, workers, most of whom are women of color. Home Care Workers Long March to Justice

Fines for Workplace Safety Violations Rise for the first time in 25 Years

Penalties for workplace safety and health violations — investigated and administered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) — are among the lowest of all federal regulatory agencies. For example, the maximum fine that OSHA can administer, even where a violation causes death, is $7,000. If the death is caused by the employer’s willful conduct, the fine can rise to $70,000. By comparison, the Federal Communications Commission can fine TV or radio stations up to $325,000 for indecent content. The Environmental Protection Agency can impose a $270,000 penalty for violations of the Clean Air Act.

As of July 1, OSHA has announced it will raise its fines for the first time in decades. Maximum OSHA fines will increase by about 80 percent, to approximately $12,000 for a serious violation and $120,000 for a willful violation of the law. Even with this increase, the fines are still low in comparison to other federal agencies. But it is a step in the right direction. Read more here.

Have a question about conditions at work or need to file a complaint about health and safety violations at your workplace? In Louisiana, call (225) 298-5458 or 1-800-321-OSHA.

Hotel housekeepers make the beds but still can’t afford to lie in them

This week marks the beginning of summer—family reunions, barbeques, and beach vacations— for those who can afford it. Those who can’t include hotel housekeepers, who like many U.S. workers over the past three decades have seen the standard features of a middle-class lifestyle grow even farther out of reach while productivity has more than doubled. …

via Hotel housekeepers make the beds but still can’t afford to lie in them.

The new overtime rule will benefit working people in every state

The Department of Labor’s new overtime rule significantly increases the number of people who qualify for time-and-a-half pay for any hours they work beyond 40 in a week.

Here is how the new rule will affect workers in Louisiana:

Share of salaried workforce directly benefiting: 24.5%

Number of people directly benefiting:174,000

Share of total salaried workforce covered under new threshold:40.8%

via The new overtime rule will benefit working people in every state.

Millions more workers will be eligible for overtime under new federal rule

Today the Obama administration and Secretary of Labor Tom Perez unveil a new rule that expands eligibility for overtime pay. The new regulations increase the income threshold below which salaried workers must be paid time-and-a-half for hours worked over 40 per week.

President Obama and Secretary of Labor Tom Perez announce new overtime regulations.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/get-there/wp/2016/05/17/millions-more-workers-would-be-eligible-for-overtime-pay-under-new-federal-rule/?hpid=hp_hp-more-top-stories_overtime-825pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

 

 

John Bel Edwards is Louisiana’s new governor. He promises “no business-as-usual.” Good news for LA’s workers.

This morning, John Bel Edwards was sworn in as Louisiana’s 56th governor. While not minimizing the state’s significant fiscal challenges, Gov. Edwards understands that the state’s economy and prosperity cannot improve without improving the lives of its working families.

“In Louisiana, 1 in 4 school-aged children live in poverty. That’s unacceptable and it MUST change.

It’s unacceptable when a parent’s hard work isn’t enough to pay the bills or go to a doctor. I’ve traveled from Algiers to Zwolle and met countless single mothers working for minimum wage behind a cash register at a gas station. Often, it’s one of several jobs they have, and they still battle to make ends meet. The faces are different, but their struggles are the same.

On top of not paying our workers a living wage, women in Louisiana make an average 66 cents on the dollar compared to men. We are the worst state in the union for pay equity. That is unacceptable. Not just for my daughters, but for all women.”

Pledging that “[w]e must make it possible for all Louisiana citizens to be healthy and prosperous,” Gov. Edwards will seek to expand Medicaid to enable many of the state’s working families access to healthcare under the Affordable Care Act. He also called for an increase in wages and for wage equity in the state.

The full text of Gov. Edwards’ speech may be read here.

Mayor Landrieu Signs Living Wage Ordinance for New Orleans City Contract Workers

On August 18, Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed into law a new living wage ordinance for New Orleans’ city contractors and financial assistance recipients.

“If you’re working full-time, you should not be living below the poverty line,” Landrieu said.

The ordinance was sponsored by Councilmember Jared Brossett. It will apply to city contractors with contracts worth at least $25,000 and to companies or organizations that receive more than $100,000 in financial assistance from the city, including subsidies and tax breaks, over a 12-month period. Covered businesses must also provide workers with seven days of paid sick leave annually.

Read more here: http://www.theneworleansadvocate.com/news/13205062-123/landrieu-signs-living-wage-ordinance

Helping New Orleans’ Workers Recover Stolen Wages

TakePart’s profile of the workers who came to help rebuild New Orleans 10 years ago and who remain, despite wage theft and discrimination. Their story is very much the heart of the Workplace Justice Project and the Wage Claim Clinic and is still an essential element of the landscape for low-wage workers in New Orleans.

Hector Carnero Mendoza in May 2015, inside a house he was helping to renovate. He says a previous employer owes him $2,000. (Photo Ben Depp)

http://www.takepart.com/feature/2015/08/17/new-orleans-wage-theft-katrina-reconstrutction

DACA: La acción diferida de niños llegados / Deferred Action for Children Arrivals

By Jazmin Woods, Loyola University

El Secretario de Seguridad Nacional anunció DACA (la acción diferida de niños llegados) el 15 de Junio 2012, un programa que concede cualificados niños indocumentados alivio temporal de deportación. DACA de 2012 permite que los niños queden en los Estados Unidos por 2 años extras y obtiene trabajo. El 20 de Noviembre de 2014, el Presidente Obama anunció una extensión de DACA, que concede inmigrantes deportación deferida por 3 años en lugar de 2, y decrece el máximo requisito de edad para los candidatos de 31 años de edad a 16. Los inmigrantes pueden aplicarse por la extensión de DACA si cumplan las siguientes cualificaciones:

  • Llegó a los Estados Unidos antes de se cumplió 16 años
  • Ha vivido en los Estados Unidos desde el 1 de enero en 2010
  • Estaba presente físicamente en los Estados Unidos el 15 de junio en 2012 y ya lo hizo un solicitud de una acción deferida con servicios de ciudadanía e inmigración de los estados unidos
  • En este momento esta asistiendo una escuela, ha graduado o obtenido diploma de equivalencia general
  • Haya cumplido honorablemente servicios de fuerzas armadas o la guardia costera de los Estados Unidos
  • No haya condenado un delito, una falta significante o 3 o más faltas
  • No haya pasado por una amenaza

DACA_banner

En el 20 de Noviembre de 2014 el Presidente Obama también anunció DAPA (Acción diferida de los padres de americanos y los residentes permanentes legales), un programa que permite los padres que han vivido en los estados unidos hasta 2010 y son padres de las ciudanías americanas o residentes permanentes legales exención de deportación por 3 años y un permite de trabajo. Una persona cualifica por DAPA si cumpla las siguientes cualificaciones:

  • Ha vivido en los estado unidos hasta el 10 de enero de 2010 ininterrumpido
  • Ha estado en los estados unidos hasta el 20 de noviembre de 2014 cuando el programa fue anunciado
  • Tenga un hijo en los estados unidos que ha estado  desde el 20 de noviembre de 2014 y sea un ciudadano americano o un residente permanente legal
  • Esta aquí fiscalmente cuando esta aplicando por el programa
  • No ha condenado de un delito, una falta significante o 3 o más faltas
  • No presente una amenaza al publico o a la seguridad nacional

Se considera que aproximadamente 3.7 de millones de inmigrantes son/sean elegibles para DACA. Esta información es del sitio de web de USCIS; para más información sobre DACA y DAPA, visita www.uscis.gov o llame 1 (800) 375-5283.

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Secretary of Homeland Security first announced DACA (Deferred Action for Children Arrivals) on June 15th, 2012 a program that grants qualified undocumented immigrant children temporary relief from deportation. DACA of 2012 allowed the children to stay in the United States for an extra 2 years and obtain work authorization. On November 20th, 2014 President Obama announced the extension of DACA, which grants immigrants deferred deportation for 3 years instead of 2 and lessens the maximum age requirement for applicants from 31 years of age to 16. Immigrants can apply for Extended DACA if they meet the following qualifications:

  • Came to United States before their 16th birthday
  • Have lived in the United States since January 1st, 2010
  • Have no lawful status on June 15th, 2012
  • Were physically present in the United States on June 15th, 2012 and made a deferred action request with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • Are currently enrolled in school, have graduated, or obtained a GED
  • Were honorably discharged from United States armed forces or United States Coast Guard
  • Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor or 3 or more misdemeanors
  • Do not pose as a threat to the public or to national security

On November 20th, 2014 President Obama also announced DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents), a program which allows parents who have lived in the United States since 2010 and are parents of American citizens or lawful permanent residents exemption from deportation for 3 years and a working permit. A person qualifies for DAPA if they meet the following qualifications:

  • Have lived in the United States since January 10th, 2010 uninterrupted
  • Have been in the United States since November 20th, 2014 when the program was announced
  • Has a child in the United States who has been here since November 20th, 2014 and is an American citizen or a lawful permanent resident
  • Are physically present when applying for the program
  • Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor or 3 or more misdemeanors
  • Do not pose as threat to the public or to national security

It is estimated that around 3.7 million undocumented immigrants are eligible for DACA. The following information is from the USCIS website; for more information regarding DACA and DAPA, please visit www.uscis.gov or call 1 (800) 375-5283.