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BUSINESS
May 2, 2010 | By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
When the last Jungle Cruise boat docks for the night and lights fade to black on Sleeping Beauty's Castle, the real work begins. At lush Pixie Hollow, gardeners don miner's headlamps as they begin uprooting stubborn weeds. On Main Street, custodians scrape chewing gum off the sidewalk. And over at Mickey's Toontown, painters sand and recoat chipped handrails. Few see it happen, except perhaps for the dozens of feral cats that emerge from their hiding places to prowl the park after hours, stalking rodents.
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BUSINESS
April 24, 2014 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON - It's not difficult to get a bonus if you work for the Internal Revenue Service - even if you haven't paid your own taxes. The IRS handed out a total of nearly $1.1 million in bonuses in a 27-month period to more than 1,146 employees who had been disciplined for failing to pay taxes, according to an inspector general's report. "This is outrageous," said Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas). "The IRS is essentially telling its employees: Break the law and we will reward you. " The employees were among more than 2,800 at the agency who received performance awards within one year of disciplinary action, such as suspensions or written reprimands for drug use, filing fraudulent time sheets or other misconduct, the report found.
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BUSINESS
October 25, 2010 | By Cyndia Zwahlen
Hiring a part-time worker can be a money saver for a small business, whether the company is growing or shrinking, but experts warn that the choice comes with possible downsides. An unwary business could wind up facing an expensive legal battle if it runs afoul of federal or state labor laws, which generally apply to part-timers as well as full-time workers. "I am getting more calls from small-business owners who are getting hauled into court or being audited by some agency because they are being accused of violating laws they didn't even know applied to them," said Teresa Tracy, a labor attorney in Marina del Rey. Too often, she said, part-time workers are not considered regular employees by their employers.
BUSINESS
April 24, 2014 | By Ricardo Lopez
Members of the American Postal Workers Union are launching protests Thursday in 27 states to decry a partnership between the U.S. Postal Service and office supply company Staples Inc. to run postal counters at its retail stores.   The agreement between the Postal Service and Staples, announced in November, created a pilot program to operate 82 postal counters at Staples locations across the country. The quick-service counters will be staffed by Staples employees.  Organizers plan to demonstrate at a Staples location in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday, one of four protests planned in California.
OPINION
August 21, 2013 | By Jonathan Turley
Last week, the U.S. government declassified a report about a secret facility in Nevada. Such declassifications are nothing new but, from the report's 400 pages, two words immediately jumped out: Area 51. The government had finally acknowledged the name of a controversial base in the desert north of Las Vegas where it conducted top-secret research. The document's release will do little to quash the glut of Area 51 conspiracy theories about recovered alien spaceships and government cover-ups.
OPINION
March 28, 2013
Re "Worker dies in line of duty," Column, March 26 Thanks to Gale Holland and The Times for bringing attention to the plight of workers who lose their lives doing work that many of us take for granted. Backhoe operator Gilbert Vargas' job was a dangerous one, and his death highlights the need for us to pay tribute to those who make our lives easier, including farm workers who enable us to put food on our tables. The Food Empowerment Project, where I am a board member, has focused on the unnecessary deaths in California of workers picking fruits and vegetables in 100-degree heat.
BUSINESS
June 14, 2012 | By David Sarno
A worker at China's Foxconn, the manufacturer that makes most of the world's Apple devices, jumped to his death Wednesday, the most recent in a string of suicides that have plagued the factory chain for years. The employee leapt from the balcony of a company-rented building in the southwestern province of Sichuan, according to police reports noted by the Associated Press. Foxconn's suicides have inflamed workers' rights advocates around the world, who have pointed to what they see as harsh working conditions at Foxconn's factories, which in addition to iPhones and iPads produce electronics for many of the largest international device makers.
OPINION
May 17, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
Another tragedy at a Bangladesh clothing factory, another announcement by Wal-Mart about additional steps it will take to beef up worker safety, this time by inspecting all of its suppliers' facilities itself. Not that the retailing giant hasn't made real efforts already to improve employee safety in notoriously bad factories overseas, but the deaths of more than 1,100 people at the Rana Plaza factory last month should signal that a piecemeal, go-it-alone approach is insufficient, even for the biggest retailer in the world.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 5, 2013 | Sandy Banks
San Francisco dodged a bullet with Gov. Jerry Brown's deadline maneuver to block a strike by BART employees that would have left hundreds of thousands of Bay Area commuters and tourists stranded and scrambling. But the temporary delay won't resolve an issue that goes deeper than benefits and wages: This high-stakes standoff has fed the perception that public sector employees are oblivious to other workers' economic pain. Last month's five-day strike by Bay Area Rapid Transit workers brought that notion into stark relief, in a region where economy and geography make public transportation a lifeline, not just a convenience.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 14, 2013 | By Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO - The decision to furlough state employees during the financial crises of recent years may have saved money in the short term but will leave a big bill down the road, the Legislature's budget advisors said Thursday. The state will owe $1 billion extra to many workers when they retire or quit, for vacation time that went unused while they were being forced to take unpaid days off. The furloughs were intended to save $5 billion from February 2009 to July 2013, effectively cutting workers' pay 5% to 14%. The $1 billion for unused vacation - some in excess of state accrual limits - will eat into those savings, according to a report by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office.
BUSINESS
April 23, 2014 | By Robert Faturechi
A former accounting manager for a Santa Clara tech company was accused by federal authorities Wednesday of setting in motion an insider trading scheme that reaped millions of dollars for those involved. The Securities and Exchange Commission accused Chris Choi, who worked for Nvidia Corp., of passing on confidential information to a friend before the company's quarterly earnings announcements in 2009 and 2010. That friend then allegedly relayed the tips to a fellow poker player who managed a hedge fund, and who used the information himself and passed it on to analysts at other firms.
BUSINESS
April 23, 2014 | By Jim Puzzanghera, This post has been updated with the latest developments.
WASHINGTON -- The IRS paid a total of about $1.1 million in bonuses over about two years to more than 1,100 employees who had been disciplined for failing to pay their own taxes, according to an inspector general's report. Those employees also received awards of more than 10,000 hours of extra time off and 69 faster-than-normal pay grade increases. They were among more than 2,800 IRS employees during that period who got performance awards within one year of disciplinary action, such as suspensions or written reprimands, the report found.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 22, 2014 | By Bob Pool
A 4-foot-diameter brick pipe discovered recently underneath a former restaurant by workers excavating a site was once part of the so-called Mother Ditch that carried water from the L.A. River to the city. The antiquity was uncovered April 10 as workers were beginning construction on the Blossom Plaza, a five-story mixed-use apartment and storefront project on North Broadway. About 73 feet of the Mother Ditch has been exposed at the project site. When first created in 1781, the Mother Ditch, or Zanja Madre, was an open ditch fed by a small dam built in the river, the city's main water source at the time.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 22, 2014 | By Christine Mai-Duc
The beleaguered operator of a Vernon battery-recycling plant announced the temporary layoffs of nearly all of its employees Monday, weeks after air-quality regulators shut down its operations over air pollution concerns. Exide Technologies said in a statement that it had issued notices to 104 hourly employees and 20 managers at the facility that they could be laid off within 60 days. The plant, which has been a source of community outrage since regulators announced last year that its arsenic emissions posed a danger to more than 100,000 people, has been idle since last month.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 19, 2014 | By Frank Shyong
A 28-year-old man who worked at a call center inside the Los Angeles Times building was being held for a mental health evaluation Saturday after he allegedly made threatening statements and handed his supervisor a pillowcase containing ammunition rounds, authorities said. The incident prompted a lockdown of The Times building Friday night as police searched the structure. The suspect, Matthew Lowes, is an employee of VXI Global Solutions, which rents space in The Times building. Lowes was reprimanded by his supervisor Friday afternoon and left the building, according to Norma Eisenman, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Police Department.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 19, 2014 | By Dan Weikel
Visibility was 10 miles and the morning sun had pushed the temperature close to 90 as Danny Joe Hall guided his mile-long Union Pacific freight train east through the grasslands of the Oklahoma Panhandle. Near the farming town of Goodwell, federal investigators said, the 56-year-old engineer sped through a series of yellow and red signals warning him to slow down and stop for a Los Angeles-bound train moving slowly onto a side track. The 83-mph collision killed Hall and two crewmen.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 22, 2013 | By Richard Verrier
  Ang Lee's acclaimed 3-D movie "Life of Pi" is a front-runner to win a top visual effects award at the Oscars. But some of the people who worked on the film's dazzling visual effects aren't celebrating. In fact, they're planning to stage a protest to call attention to their own plight -- and that of California visual effects workers in general. A group of visual effects workers has arranged to have a plane fly a banner over the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood during the red carpet Academy Awards pre-show to protest their circumstances.
WORLD
August 3, 2011 | By Ken Elllingwood, Los Angeles Times
Nine workers from two prominent Mexican polling firms were missing Tuesday in the violence-plagued state of Michoacan, which holds elections this fall. Six pollsters from the Consulta Mitofsky firm vanished over the weekend while surveying residents in Apatzingan, a town in a rural area that has seen bloody clashes between Mexican security forces and a violent drug-trafficking gang. On Tuesday, a separate firm, Parametria, reported that three of its field workers disappeared while on the job in the same region.
BUSINESS
April 15, 2014 | By Marc Lifsher
 Southern California Edison Co. plans to lay off hundreds of employees as part of a management streamlining and outsourcing of some functions such as information technology. The number of workers affected by the cuts will be "in the high hundreds," said Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), chairman of the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee. "It's pretty disappointing.... [The cuts] are not going to help" the California economy. Padilla was briefed by his committee consultants, who said they were told that the utility expected to cut 500 in-house employees and another 400 to 500 contract workers beginning this summer.
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