Skip to main content

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.
President Barack Obama and Labor Secretary Thomas Perez
Here's yet another way Republicans and Republican spending priorities block justice for workers. According to the Center for Public Integrity:
... the number of Labor Department judges, who hear a wide range of workers’ compensation, immigration, wage and whistleblower cases, has fallen to 35 nationwide, from 41 in early 2013 and 53 a decade ago. The department’s caseload, meanwhile, is soaring, forcing some sick and injured workers to wait years for benefits.
President Obama would like to begin to undo a small part of that damage:
President Obama’s fiscal 2015 budget would add 10 people to the OALJ, though it’s unclear how many would be judges and how many would be support staff. The proposal comes on the heels of a Feb. 18 letter to the White House from six members of Congress, who complained of “untenable delays in adjudicating claims, such as claims under the Black Lung Benefits Act and alleged violations of employment law. These delays directly and severely impact the lives of workers throughout the country, placing an undue financial and emotional burden on the affected individuals and their families.”

The lawmakers said a total of 11,325 cases were pending in the OALJ in fiscal 2013 — nearly double the number from 10 years earlier.

So Obama's hoped-for budget would likely still leave a lower number of judges than in 2013, and 2013 was already bad enough. We'll see what Republicans do with this request, but nothing in their recent record suggests that the likely response is "Wait, vulnerable, injured, and sick workers are waiting ridiculous amounts of time for justice for ways they've been hurt or wronged on the job? We have to fund the justice system to fix this!" (Ha ha ha, right?)

(Via Blogwood)

Continue reading for more of the week's labor and education news.

A fair day's wage

  • Coal miners at Armstrong Coal Co. say they were surveilled and harassed for making safety complaints.
  • New Haven, Connecticut, is cracking down on wage theft.
  • Check out this very nifty map of minimum wage and average income by profession across the United States.
  • Las Vegas casino and hotel workers could end up going on strike because of provisions in Obamacare:
    Union leaders have long voiced concern over the health care law’s effect on their Taft-Hartley plans, which are collectively bargained plans maintained by multiple employers and a labor union. Under the Affordable Care Act, Taft-Hartley plan recipients (like the members of CU 226) are not eligible for tax subsidies. That makes some union employees more expensive for employers who provide health care, making employers less agreeable when it comes time to foot the bill.
    These plans were formed to be one of the best ways to health care under the old system, but now the working- and middle-class people who get their health care this way are sort of trapped. It's a real problem, but of course Republicans are prone to want to use anything they can as a cudgel against unions and against Obamacare, so finding a fix will be tough.
  • No, Connecticut's paid sick leave law did not hurt business.
  • Exotic dancers sue, claiming they were misclassified as independent contractors when they were, in effect, employees.
  • The last of the radium girls has died. Don't know who the radium girls were? Neither did I, actually, but it's fascinating and you should read about them.
  • HOT NEW TREND! Unemployed people selling their possessions on Craigslist. Just great.
  • The Working Families Party is a third party that's winning. But what will it do about Andrew Cuomo?

Education

  • A parent's letter to President Obama on schools and standardized testing:
    Why does the law distill the interactions of our teachers and students over the course of a year into a high-stakes multiple choice test?  Is this really a valid system of accountability for teachers, based so heavily on their students’ test scores?   If so, why are so many public school parents, teachers and students pushing back against it?  And why aren’t the private schools insisting on it?

    In my daughter’s English class at Clarke Central, students engage the works of Plato and learn to discern and make philosophical arguments about abstract concepts like piety; they read Hemingway and learn how to engage questions such as whether a protagonist’s moral code can be attributed to the author.  You cannot pick “A, B, C, or D” for such things, or if you can, then the entire experience is trivialized. Of course assessments are a necessary part of any educational process, to help guide, inform and improve instruction, but the high-stakes test-and-punish regime now in place is not doing that.

  • Last week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he was withdrawing permission for three Success Academies charter schools to be co-located, rent-free, in public school buildings, ending the preferential treatment the chain had gotten from the Bloomberg administration. Tuesday, de Blasio planned a lobby day in Albany to build support for universal pre-K programs. In a stunning coincidence, Success Academies founder and former city councilwoman Eva Moskowitz decided to close her schools for the day to send students to Albany to lobby, not for pre-K, but for charter schools.

    Moskowitz drew criticism from Daniel Dromm, the chair of the city council education committee, and from the Rev. Al Sharpton. Moskowitz insists that she supports pre-K and wasn't intending to distract from the effort to build support for it. It's just that the thing she closes her schools for and buses kids a couple hours to lobby on is preferential treatment for charter schools, and it just happens to coincide with the pre-K efforts of a mayor who isn't following his predecessor's lead in giving her everything she wants.

    New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also dove in to defend the poor beleaguered charter schools. I mean, they might not get every single public space they want, rent-free, even as their executives pull in big salaries. The horror.

  • Speaking of charter schools, the founder of some North Carolina charters is under federal investigation.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 10:55 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Meanwhile, budget continues to crush Medicare (0+ / 0-)

    Not well reported, but Obama's budget will increase Medicare premiums for all seniors in the next few years by $25 three times ($75) more per month to $175 PER PERSON, so a couple will pay $4,200 a year for Doctor coverage, plus another minimum $2400 ($1,200 per person) for supplemental (or else you pay 20% of operations, etc., instead of a staggering 10%) In addition, without supplemental insurance it costs $1,200 every time, instead of $600, you are admitted into the hospital, plus $130 initial deductible.

    The prescription plan starts with a $330 deductible per person, and you pay about $4,000 in drug bills until you get catastrophic coverage. I have two prescriptions, one for $260 a month and one for $179 a month (filled at WalMart, the cheapest place). No coverage for dental, hearing aids or eye exams. All out of pocket. Arguing for

    Some have suggested "Medicare for All." That's just a way to get lousy coverage at a huge price. And seniors are not allowed to purchase Obamacare, and there are no other healthcare plans available but Medicare, and if you have less than $2,000 in assets, Medicaid.

  •  Made a very rare trip to a Walmart yesterday (0+ / 0-)

    to the fabric department to pick up some fleece.  The woman at the fabric cutting counter had her coat on. "Are you leaving?" I asked.  She said she should have been gone an hour ago.  "Is there anybody else to cut fabric?" I asked.  She said no; customers would be out of luck if they needed anything.  She was very kind and cut mine for me, and I asked why they didn't have anyone at the counter.  "They just keep cutting hours to save money," she replied, explaining that there's hell to pay if workers stay to help a customer. As soon as she was done, she hastily left.  "I'd better get out of here," she said, "before they skin me alive."

    The poor Walmart heirs.  That woman's extra hour is gonna cost them big, I guess....

    "It ain't right, Atticus," said Jem. "No, son, it ain't right." --Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

    by SottoVoce on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 11:17:41 AM PST

  •  This is President Obama as a Democrat (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    anonevent

    getting public health and environmental protection done!

    Many Dems just don't seem to appreciate what it means for the Obama Administration to be doing these things.

    Republicans are the party that not only doesn't get environmental protection done, they spend most of their time trying to undo what public health and environmental protection law and regulation we do have.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site