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.
April 7, 2013 |
WESTFIELD, Mass. - The envelope factory where Lisa Weber works is hot and noisy. A fan she brought from home helps her keep cool as she maneuvers around whirring equipment to make her quota: 750 envelopes an hour, up from 500 a few years ago. There's no resting: Between the video cameras and the constant threat of layoffs, Weber knows she must always be on her toes. The drudgery of work at National Envelope Co. used to be relieved by small perks - an annual picnic, free hams and turkeys over the holidays - but those have long since been eliminated.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 14, 2013 |
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.
May 17, 2013 |
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 |
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.
June 14, 2012 |
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.