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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
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.
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. …