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Shaheen Announces Grant for the Community College System of NH to Increase Access to Apprenticeships

The ApprenticeshipUSA-NH project will receive a $1.2 million grant from the Department of Labor

The project, supported  by Sen. Shaheen, will serve 133 apprentices in the Granite State with a focus on women, low-income, veterans and other underrepresented populations

(Manchester, NH)— U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) announced today that the Community College System of New Hampshire was awarded $1.2 million by the Department of Labor (DOL) to fund the ApprenticeshipUSA-NH project. The grant is part of the Administration’s ApprenticeshipUSA initiative to expand apprenticeships in diverse industries nationwide. With this new grant, the Community College System of New Hampshire will create a Registered Apprenticeship system in the Granite State that builds upon the momentum of several initiatives aligned with state economic, workforce development and educational goals. The ApprenticeshipUSA-NH project will serve 133 apprentices, with special emphasis on underrepresented populations including low-income, individuals with disabilities, youth, women, and veterans. Senator Shaheen has been a strong supporter of the ApprenticeshipUSA initiative since its creation in 2014.

“This is an important investment in New Hampshire’s workforce,” said Senator Shaheen. “The ApprenticeshipUSA-NH project will invest in Granite State workers to advance their skills and knowledge for today’s job market, while also strengthening our economy. I am proud to have worked with the Administration in support of the ApprenticeshipUSA initiative so we can engage more young people, women, veterans and other underrepresented people in apprenticeships to provide them with the skills they need to find a career they love. This program demonstrates that when we invest in our workers, we are investing in our businesses and economy as a whole.”

“The Community College System of New Hampshire has been integral in our efforts to build an even stronger workforce in New Hampshire, helping to ensure that our young people are equipped with the skills, knowledge and innovative thinking needed for success in the good jobs of the 21st century,” said Governor Maggie Hassan. “The ApprencticeshipUSA grant will support the community college system’s efforts and build on other initiatives already underway to develop a stronger apprenticeship system in New Hampshire that is responsive to industry demand and allows for the inclusion of all Granite Staters. The future economic sustainability of New Hampshire depends greatly on our ability to provide a strong economic foundation where all citizens have access to great jobs that provide a sustainable wage and growth opportunity, and I was proud to support the community college system’s ApprenticeshipUSA grant to help us achieve that goal.”

“I thank Senator Shaheen for her strong support of the ApprenticeshipUSA initiative since its creation in 2014, and I look forward to continue working with members from both parties to build an even stronger, more innovative New Hampshire where all Granite Staters who work hard have the opportunity to get ahead and stay ahead,” Governor Hassan said.  

Job-driven apprenticeships are one of the surest paths to provide American workers with the skills and knowledge they need to acquire good-paying jobs and grow the economy. More than 90 percent of apprentices are employed after completing their programs, with an average starting wage above $60,000. International studies suggest that for every dollar spent on apprenticeship, employers may get an average of $1.47 back in increased productivity and greater front-line innovation.

The AFL-CIO Pushes Back Against Pro-Business Democrats Trying To Change The New Overtime Threshold

Pay Check Everyone agrees that the current overtime threshold needs to be updated. The issue is, how quickly should this update take effect?

In May, the Department of Labor announced that they would be lifting the salary threshold for overtime from just over $23,660 a year to $47,476. This means that if you are a salaried employee who makes less than $47,476 dollars you will now be entitle to overtime (time and 1/2) for every hour worked in a week above 40.

“New overtime protections mark a major victory for working people that will improve the lives of millions of families across America,” said Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO in a May press release. “We applaud the Obama Administration heeding the call for action to ensure working people get paid for all the hours we work. Taking this step to restore overtime is one of the many ways we are beginning to change the rules of our economy that are rigged in favor of Wall Street.”

“The fight for even stronger overtime protections and to raise wages for all working people continues. But today, millions of workers will receive a long overdue raise, healthier and more productive jobs, and more time to spend with our community and loved ones,” added Trumka. 

Congressman Kurt Schrader

Congressman Kurt Schrader

This week, Congressman Kurt Schrader (OR-5), Congressman Jim Cooper (TN-5), Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) and Congressman Collin Peterson (MN-7) introduced legislation that will “initiate a reasonable three-year phase-in of the Department of Labor’s new overtime rule.”

“The current overtime threshold is horribly outdated and needs to be raised as both employees and employers navigate our changing economy. This bill will do exactly that without disrupting the way businesses operate and employees are paid,” said Congressman Schrader. “Since the DOL’s immediate phase-in date was announced, we’ve heard from business owners and their employees who are worried about implementing this increase overnight. Without sufficient time to plan for the increase, cuts and demotions will become inevitable, and workers will actually end up making less than they made before. It’s long past time we strengthen overtime pay protections for American workers in a meaningful and effective way.”

“While I believe the time has come to increase the overtime threshold, the DOL rule would put businesses in a bind and potentially lead to job loss,” said Congressman Peterson. “Both businesses and constituents in my district have expressed concern about the impact of an immediate threshold increase. A three-year phase in will provide adequate time for business to adapt to the new standard while also ensuring workers are fairly compensated.”

Surprise, businesses do not want to have to pay workers more money.  How are businesses going to win the race to the bottom if President Obama and the DOL keep raising the floor?

The Schrader plan is to phase the overtime threshold  in slowly to decrease the impact on businesses. Schrader’s office explained this proposed legislation would work in their most recent press release.

“On December 1, 2016, the Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act will immediately increase the threshold more than 50% to $35,984. Each year following, the salary threshold will be raised by $74 per week until December 1, 2019, when we reach the DOL’s proposed $47,476 threshold.”

The one thing that Schrader’s office neglected to mention is that the newly proposed legislation would also eliminate the automatic increases to the overtime threshold every three years.

The AFL-CIO quickly spoke out against this newly proposed legislation in a stern letter to all Representatives in the U.S. House.

July 14, 2016

Dear Representative:

            I am writing on behalf of the AFL-CIO to urge you to oppose legislation, introduced by Rep. Kurt Schrader, that would rob millions of workers of the overtime pay protection they have earned. The misnamed “Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act” would delay by three years the full implementation of the Labor Department’s new overtime regulations, originally scheduled to take effect in December, 2016.

            The Schrader bill would also eliminate the final rule’s mechanism that would automatically update the salary threshold every three years after implementation. As you know, workers have waited decades for an update to the salary threshold—it has only been updated once since the 1970s—in 2004 (when it was set too low). Having experienced decades of wage stagnation and uncompensated overtime, workers should not have to wait three more years for the protection the new regulations will provide.

            The current salary threshold for overtime pay would be over $57,000 if it had kept pace with inflation since 1975. Instead, effective December 1, 2016, the salary threshold below which salaried employees are automatically eligible for overtime pay will rise from $23,660 ($455 per week) to $47,476 ($913 per week). The Labor Department based this new threshold level on the 40th-percentile salary for workers in the lowest-wage Census region (currently the South). Because history demonstrates that it can take years for the regulatory process to adapt to changing labor markets, the rule also indexes the threshold to inflation. Once implemented, the threshold level will increase every three years, beginning in 2020.

            For approximately 12.5 million workers, this new regulation is the most effective way to raise wages, create jobs, and restore the 40-hour work week. The AFL-CIO urges you to oppose the Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act and any legislation that would delay or weaken implementation of this important rule.

Sincerely,

William Samuel, Director
Government Affairs

Phasing in the new overtime rule by $74 dollars a week may be good for some businesses but it is definitely not good for workers. This proposed legislation would create confusion as to when workers would qualify for overtime leaving workers wide open for wage theft.

Aside from ensuring that workers are paid fairly for the hard work they are doing, this new overtime rule is intended to stimulate job growth. Rep. Schrader is worried about potential job losses from the new rule taking effect, yet the only businesses who would be effected by this rule have workers making less than $47,000 a year salary, who work more than 40 hours a week.  This means that businesses will have to choose:

  • Do they want to continue to pay their employee a low salary and pay them overtime for every hour above 40?
  • Do they want to raise the employee’s salary to $47,476, allowing the employee to work unlimited hours without having to pay them overtime?
  • Do they want to continue to pay their employee a low salary and then hire an additional employee to complete the extra work that needs to be done?

Either way workers are going to get a benefit. Either workers will get more money in their paycheck or more workers will receive paychecks.

This proposed legislation is bad for workers and will only continue the stagnation of our economy while leaving workers vulnerable to wage theft by their employers.  This legislation will do more harm than good and should be rejected.


For more information on who will benefit from the new overtime rule read our previous post from May 2016 or check out this handy info-graphic on the DOL overtime changes

Info-Graphic: How New Overtime Rule Will Impact Millions Of Americans

Are you still confused about the new overtime rule pushed out by President Obama and the Department of Labor? You are not alone and we are here to help.

Here are a couple of the basics:

  • An employer is now required to pay overtime for any salaried worker who makes an annual salary of less than $47,476, up from $23,660.
  • The new overtime rule will impact more than 4 million workers, most of which are women.
  • The new threshold number will be automatically increased every three years.

Still want to know more?

The people at PrimePay have created this handy info-graphic to give everyone a more in-depth look at how these new changes will impact American workers.

overtime-infographic-final3For more information go to PrimePay

The DOL To Double Overtime Rule Lifting The Wages Of An Estimated 12 Million Workers

Thomas Perez delivers remarks after President Barack Obama announced Perez as his nominee for Labor Secretary, in the East Room of the White House, March 18, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Thomas Perez delivers remarks after President Barack Obama announced Perez as his nominee for Labor Secretary, in the East Room of the White House, March 18, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

12.5 Million Americans: the number of people that the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) estimates will be affected by President Obama’s changes to the overtime rule.

Today, the Department of Labor, under President Obama’s direction, will update the threshold for salaried workers who automatically qualify for overtime when they work more than 40 hours a week.

“We’re making more workers eligible for the overtime that you’ve earned. And it’s one of the single most important steps we can take to help grow middle-class wages,” said President Obama.

“New overtime protections mark a major victory for working people that will improve the lives of millions of families across America,” said Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO. “We applaud the Obama Administration heeding the call for action to ensure working people get paid for all the hours we work. Taking this step to restore overtime is one of the many ways we are beginning to change the rules of our economy that are rigged in favor of Wall Street.”

“The fight for even stronger overtime protections and to raise wages for all working people continues. But today, millions of workers will receive a long overdue raise, healthier and more productive jobs, and more time to spend with our community and loved ones,” added Trumka. 

This simple rule change will have a significant impact on our local and national economy. The White House estimates this rule change will put $12 billion dollars into the hands of hard working Americans over the next ten years.

The DOL is lifting the threshold for salaried workers from just over $23,660 a year to $47,476. This means that if you are a salaried employee who makes less than $47,476 dollars you will now be entitle to overtime (time and 1/2) for every hour worked in a week above 40.

This doubles the current salary threshold while being responsive to public comments regarding regional variations in income by setting the salary threshold at the 40th percentile of full-time salaried workers in the lowest income Census region (currently the South). Tying the salary threshold to the lowest-wage region of the country has strong historical precedent in previous rulemakings.

This salary threshold will be reevaluated and updated every three years ensuring that if continues to meet the 40th percentile mark.

Employers have used this low salary threshold to cheat workers out of higher wages for decades. Many of these workers routinely work 50-60 hours a week and are paid a flat rate. In some cases salaried workers were putting in so many extra hours, without any additional pay, that their per-hour rate would drop below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

Now employers will have to choose between raising the wages of salaried employees or keeping employees at their current salary but reducing the number of hours they work in a week. Reducing the number of hours worked would lead to job growth as employers will need to hire additional workers to fulfill their needs.

Check out this short video from the White House that explain the rule change and how it will effect individual salaried workers. 

EPI estimates that raising the overtime salary threshold will directly benefit a broad range of working people, including:

  • 6.4 million women, or 50.9 percent of all directly benefiting workers
  • 4.2 million parents and 7.3 million children (under age 18)
  • 1.5 million blacks, and 2.0 million Hispanics
  • 4.5 million millennials, defined as workers age 16 to 34 (who make up 28.2 percent of the salaried workforce but 36.3 percent of directly benefiting workers)
  • 3.6 million workers age 25 to 34 (who make up 22.9 percent of the salaried workforce but 28.7 percent of directly benefiting workers)
  • 3.2 million workers with a high school degree but not more education (who make up 15.5 percent of the salaried workforce but 25.3 percent of directly benefiting workers)

This is a monstrous step in the right direction to lift the wages of millions of Americans. The White House estimates that the new rule is expected to extend overtime protections to 4.2 million more Americans who are not currently eligible under federal law.

The new rule is slated to take effect on December 1st of this year.


Below are a couple of charts from the EPI that break down what industries will see the biggest boost from this new rule change and the number of workers impacted by the new rule, state by state.

In New Hampshire, over 54,000 workers will be directly effected by this new rule change.  Texas, Florida and California will see the biggest increases with over 1 million workers benefiting from this change.

Bricklayers Union Praise New US Department of Labor Silica Dust Rule

USDOL Promulgates the Long-overdue Final Silica Rule 

U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez today announced the promulgation of the long-overdue final silica rule. The new rule will prevent about 600 deaths and thousands of illnesses related to silica exposure each year. Secretary Perez made the announcement in Bowie, Maryland at the John J. Flynn BAC/IMI International Training Center.

Bricklayers unionThe International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC) has taken a leading role in working with community and industry partners, scientists and lawmakers to ensure adoption of the final rule. “This is a huge step forward for millions of workers in the U.S., including BAC members who have suffered from silica dust exposure for generations,” BAC President James Boland said. “Many thanks to all our members who helped put a human face on the loss and illness associated with this occupational peril. Together, our Union and the labor movement have and will continue to improve safety and health protections for our workers. Together, we can make workers’ lives better. And together, we will continue the fight to protect this final standard.”

To raise public awareness of the deadly consequences of silica exposure and support the final adoption of OSHA’s proposed silica rule, BAC launched a “Stop Silica from Killing Again” campaign, and its members also testified at OSHA hearings sharing their personal stories on dangers of silica exposure, among many other efforts. “We will keep fighting to ensure that working people are protected from this avoidable danger,” said BAC Executive Vice President Gerard Scarano.

“More than 80 years ago, Labor Secretary Frances Perkins identified silica dust as a deadly hazard and called on employers to fully protect workers,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez. “This rule will save lives. It will enable workers to earn a living without sacrificing their health. It builds upon decades of research and a lengthy stakeholder engagement process – including the consideration of thousands of public comments – to finally give workers the kind of protection they deserve and that Frances Perkins had hoped for them.”

President Boland added, “This is why it is so important to have a ‘Collaborator-in Chief’ in the white house—someone who knows how to get things done. We thank President Obama and his Labor Secretary for making the safety of workers a priority.”

 

The International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, headquartered in Washington, D.C., is the oldest continuous union in North America and represents roughly 80,000 skilled masonry-trowel trades craftworkers in the United States and Canada, including bricklayers, tile setters, cement masons, plasterers, stone masons, marble masons, restoration workers, and terrazzo and mosaic workers.

McDonald’s Workers File OSHA Complaint After 79% Report Being Burn On The Job

Mcdonalds ‘Put mayonnaise on it, you’ll be good’ 

McDonald’s Workers Nationwide File OSHA Complaints Alleging Hazardous Work Conditions

Understaffing and pressure to work too fast lead to serious injuries;
Workers call on DOL to investigate

Faced with widespread hazards on the job, including bubbling hot oil, white hot grills, and greasy, slippery floors, McDonald’s workers who have suffered severe burns announced Monday that they have filed 28 health and safety complaints against the fast-food giant in 19 cities.

They allege that understaffing and pressure to work too fast – hazardous conditions often created by the company’s computer system that dictates staffing levels and the pace of work – are the main drivers responsible for the injuries. The complaints further reveal that many McDonald’s stores lack basic first aid or protective gear necessary to ensure workers’ safety, and that managers often tell workers to treat burns with condiments like mustard rather than burn cream.

“My managers kept pushing me to work faster, and while trying to meet their demands I slipped on a wet floor, catching my arm on a hot grill,” said Brittney Berry, who has worked at McDonald’s in Chicago, Ill., since 2011, and who suffered a severe burn on her forearm and nerve damage from the accident. “The managers told me to put mustard on it, but I ended up having to get rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. This is exactly why workers at McDonald’s need union rights, so we have a voice to make the company take responsibility for the dangers it creates in its stores.”

The complaints, filed with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration as well as state safety and health authorities, point to a wide range of serious dangers at the workplace, including: pressure to clean and filter the fryer while the oil is hot; lack of proper protective equipment; floors that are greasy or wet; and missing or empty first aid kits. Complaints were filed at both corporate and franchised locations.

“One of my coworkers and I have to empty the grease trap without protective gear, and since we were never given the proper equipment or training, we just dump the hot grease into a plastic bag in a box of ice,” said Martisse Campbell, who works at McDonald’s in Philadelphia, Penn., whose hand was severely burned by boiling grease from a fryer. “Once, my coworker got badly burned, and our manager told him ‘put mayonnaise on it, you’ll be good.’ McDonald’s needs to be held accountable, and that’s why workers around the country are joining together.”

Burns have been reported as a widespread problem since fast-food workers started organizing in New York City more than two years ago: “In our first meeting, there were 50 workers in a room in New York City who held up their arms covered in burns and said ‘this is what it means to be a fast-food worker,’” said Kendall Fells,Organizing Director of the Fight for $15. “As this campaign has spread to cities across the country, it’s become painfully clear that unsafe conditions go hand in hand with the industry’s low wages.”

McDonald’s sets minimal health and safety standards for all franchisees, but even these modest measures are not properly enforced. The company watches like a hawk nearly every aspect of its franchisees’ business operations via regular inspections, but it too often ignores health and safety problems. Moreover, workers in corporate-owned stores report the same health and safety hazards as workers in franchised restaurants.

“It’s a problem that only McDonald’s can fix, and the time to fix it is now,” Mr. Fells added.

The announcement comes as a new national survey finds that a staggering share of fast-food workers have been burned on the job: 79% of fast-food workers in the U.S. have been burned in the past year, most repeatedly, according to a survey conducted by Hart Research Associates and released Monday by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health. Workers cited understaffing and pressure to work too fast as the top reasons they are getting burned on the job.

The survey found that 36% of workers report that first aid kits are missing, inaccessible, or empty, and one-third of fast-food workers in the U.S. had been told to treat burns with condiments like mustard or mayonnaise rather than burn cream.

The Fight for $15 announced Monday the launch of a petition calling on the U.S. Department of Labor to investigate widespread health and safety hazards in the fast-food industry. And it launched a video and website, burnedbyfastfood.org, to call attention to the prevalence of severe burns in the industry.

Workers announced that they would be holding protests at McDonald’s stores across the country Tuesday to demand that the company be held accountable for the widespread dangers at its stores.

The 19 cities where complaints were filed include Kansas City, Mo., Miramar, Fla., Nanuet, N.Y., New York, N.Y., New Orleans, La., and Philadelphia, Penn. The announcement comes as McDonald’s faces mounting challenges domestically and abroad over working conditions, tax avoidance, and racial discrimination.

NH DOL Works To End Illegal Misclassification Of Workers

US Labor Department signs agreement with
New Hampshire Department of Labor to reduce misclassification of employees

Officials from the U.S. Department of Labor and the New Hampshire Department of Labor has signed a memorandum of understanding with the goal of protecting the rights of employees by preventing their misclassification as something other than employees, such as independent contractors or other non-employee statuses.

Under this agreement, both agencies will share information and coordinate law enforcement. The memorandum of understanding represents a new effort on the part of the agencies to work together to protect the rights of employees and level the playing field for responsible employers by reducing the practice of misclassification. The New Hampshire Department of Labor is the latest state agency to partner with the Labor Department.

“Misclassification of employees deprives workers of rightfully-earned wages and workplace protections and undercuts law-abiding businesses,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “Which is why combating misclassification is one of several important strategies to promote shared prosperity to help ensure that our economy works for everyone.”

“Working with the states is an important tool for ending misclassification and other workplace abuses,” said Solicitor of Labor of the U.S. Department of Labor M. Patricia Smith. “These collaborations allow us to better coordinate and ensure compliance with both federal and state laws alike.”

“Misclassification of workers steals benefits and protections from employees, and allows unfair advantages to businesses that do it,” said New Hampshire Labor Commissioner James W. Craig. “This agreement will help us grow our state and regional economy by leveling the playing field for honest and law-abiding employers.”

Business models that attempt to change or obscure the employment relationship through the use of independent contractors may not be used to evade compliance with federal labor law. Although legitimate independent contractors are an important part of our economy, the misclassification of employees presents a serious problem, as these employees often are denied access to critical benefits and protections – such as family and medical leave, overtime compensation, minimum wage pay, Unemployment Insurance, personal protective equipment and retirement benefits – to which they are entitled. In addition, misclassification can create economic pressure for law-abiding business owners, who often find it difficult to compete with those who are skirting the law.

Memoranda of understanding with state government agencies arose as part of the department’s Misclassification Initiative, with the goal of preventing, detecting and remedying employee misclassification. Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New York, Utah and Washington state agencies have signed similar agreements. More information is available on the Department of Labor’s misclassification website at http://www.dol.gov/misclassification/.

The mission of the department is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and ensure work-related benefits and rights.

To learn more about the Fair Labor Standards Act’s requirements, call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free hotline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or visit its website at http://www.dol.gov/whd/.

 

New BLS Report Shows Union Members Earn Hundreds More Per Week

Today the Department of Labor released their annual report on union membership in the United States.  For the first time in many years the number of union members held steady at just over 11% of the U.S. workforce.

For many years labor unions have been saying that being a union member has a definite financial advantage, and this report proves it.

The data also show that among full-time wage and salary workers, union members have higher median weekly earnings than nonunion workers,” said Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez.  “The median weekly earnings of union members were $950, compared to $750 for nonunion workers.

Wages union vs non union

The average benefit for being a union member is $200 per week, or just over $10,000 per year.  That is a significant boost to a workers income.

The additional money in their paycheck is not the only benefit to being a union member, as Sec. Perez explains.

Along with higher wages, other data show that union members have greater access to employment-based benefits, such as health insurance, a retirement savings plan, and sick and vacation leave.

The Economic Policy Institute reports:

Unionized workers are more likely than their nonunionized counterparts to receive paid leave, are approximately 18% to 28% more likely to have employer-provided health insurance, and are 23% to 54% more likely to be in employer-provided pension plans.”

Not only are unionized workers more likely to have healthcare, typically they pay less for their coverage.

They (unionized workers) also pay 18% lower health care deductibles and a smaller share of the costs for family coverage.” (EPI Report)

Membership has its benefits.

Sec. Thomas Perez: “Workers’ ability to form unions and engage in collective bargaining has been a cornerstone of a strong middle class. The decline in union membership over the last few decades has contributed to more working families struggling to get by. When workers have a seat at the table, they are better able to bargain for their fair share of the value they helped create; and that leads to greater economic security and economic mobility for everyone.  As our economy continues to recover and we work to create good jobs, we need to ensure workers can lift their voices to raise wages, reduce inequality and help more people climb ladders of opportunity.”

Union membership states

From BLS report

See also Private-Sector Union Membership Grows in 2013 from the AFL-CIO

 

AFL-CIO Statement On New Healthcare Workers Ruling By The DOL

Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka On New Rule Ensuring Wage Standards to Home Care Workers

The rule issued today by the U.S. Department of Labor finally recognizes the value of the work done by millions of people who take care of our aging parents as well as our sisters, brothers and children with disabilities.  Congress intended that these hard working individuals, whose labor is often physically and emotionally demanding, have the protection of our nation’s most basic labor standards – the right to be paid a minimum wage and receive more for working overtime.  Yet since 1975, the Labor Department has allowed an entire, fast-growing industry to operate outside the law.  Today, with the active support of a wide array of advocates, the Obama administration has corrected this historic injustice.

The AFL-CIO applauds the homecare workers whose courage made this day possible—workers like Evelyn Coke, a Jamaican immigrant and single mother who took care of the elderly, sick and dying for years, bathing them, dressing them and feeding them, sometimes working three consecutive 24-hour shifts without overtime pay.  Ms. Coke challenged this injustice, taking her case to the United States Supreme Court, resulting in the decision that prompted today’s rule.

Today’s action will not only benefit the largely female, minority and low-wage workers who provide these essential services, it will help to ensure an adequate supply of homecare workers as demand grows, reduce turnover, and improve quality, permitting more Americans who wish to stay in their own homes as they grow old or experience disability to do so.@

Congressman Guinta Is Gone But His Anti-Union Legacy Remains

Today it was announced that Eckman Construction of Bedford won the contract to build the Department of Labor ‘Job Center’ in Manchester.  I use the term won, very loosely because in actuality they were the lowest bidder, therefore winning the contract.

The residential education and job training complex will serve low-income youth ages 16 to 24, with a focus on homeland security, health care and hospitality jobs.” (AP)

The job corp center became an issue for the unionized trade workers in New Hampshire when then Congressman Guinta wanted the bid changed to remove the Project Labor Agreement (PLA) that was required by President Obama on all Federal Projects.

In 2009 shortly after the project was announced the bid was pulled to remove the PLA.  This drew a large protest from Joe Casey President of the the New Hampshire Building Trades Council.

“The selfish actions of North Branch and the ABC stand to harm hundreds of people in New Hampshire: Young people will not be able to benefit from participation in Job Corps programs. Area businesses will not benefit in the long term from a greater number or professionally trained workers and in the short term from the economic boost of a $35 million project. And construction workers that are struggling through one of the worst down periods in our lifetime will continue to struggle to find work.”

“Project labor agreements, also known as Community Workforce Agreements, have a long history of protecting both project owners  and the workers who build them. In addition to setting clear, uniform, negotiated standards for all workers on a project, they also have  been shown to improve safety, minimize delays, and save owners money,”

Guinta ABC Award

Guinta Receives Award From ABC

In spite of the numerous benefit to workers and the community the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) worked with Congressman Guinta after he was elected in 2010, to get the project scrapped until it was re-bid without a PLA.   Even though Guinta’s amendment was rejected the ABC praised his efforts with an award.

Guinta’s connection to the ABC was again brought to the forefront durning his last election campaign.  ABC donated $20,000 to the reelection campaign on top of sending out mailers to all of Guinta’s district.

Guinta ABC Mailer

So even though Congressman Guinta is no longer in Washington his anti-union policies are still hurting New Hampshire.

NH Carpenters Union Business Agent John Jackson said of ABC  “If they had their way, all government regulation would be eliminated – no safety laws, no requirement to pay wages for all hours  worked, no requirement for worker’s comp coverage for all workers. Their anti-competition argument covers up business practices that decimate our community.”

Well Congressman Guinta, you got your way this time and the New Hampshire workers are going to suffer because of it.

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