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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.
April 1, 2014 | By Kevin Baxter
Work at Sao Paulo's Itaquerao Stadium was halted on Monday by order of Sao Paulo's labor secretariat following the death of a construction worker on Saturday, the third fatality at the project. Construction on stadiums and other venues for this summer's World Cup in Brazil continues to be plagued by corruption, delays and safety concerns just 2 1/2 months from the June 12 opener in Sao Paulo. The worker, Fabio Hamilton da Cruz, fell about 26 feet while working on the installation of temporary seats on Saturday when, apparently, he didn't connect himself to a safety cable in a rush to finish for the day. Itaquerao is one of the projects that remains well behind schedule.
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.
March 31, 2014 | By Emily Alpert Reyes
Hoping to make Los Angeles a national leader in steering trash away from landfills, the City Council is poised to approve a sweeping and controversial transformation of garbage collection for tens of thousands of businesses and apartment buildings. The new system, which tightens city control over the commercial trash-hauling market, is expected to win approval Tuesday. Proponents say that the changes, backed by environmental and labor organizations, will keep more garbage out of landfills, cut down on truck traffic and make the industry safer for workers.
June 17, 2013 | By Ricardo Lopez
Seven out of 10 workers have "checked out" at work or are "actively disengaged," according to a recent Gallup survey .  In its ongoing survey of the American workplace, Gallup found that only 30% of workers are "were engaged, or involved in, enthusiastic about, and committed to their workplace. " Although that equals the high in engagement since Gallup began studying the issue in 2000, it is overshadowed by the number of workers who aren't committed to a performing at a high level -- which Gallup says costs companies money.
January 15, 2014 | By Tiffany Hsu
The National Labor Relations Board, an independent federal agency tasked with policing bad behavior by employers, is targeting Wal-Mart Stores Inc. over the retail behemoth's alleged crackdown on its protesting workers. The NLRB filed a formal complaint Wednesday against the Bentonville, Ark. chain, alleging that the company violated the rights of more than 60 employees rallying over workplace conditions in 14 states - including California. Some experts said the NLRB may be trying to establish itself as a force to be feared, and not just in the unionized workplaces that have traditionally been its stomping grounds.
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.
October 5, 2012 | By Andrea Chang
Multiple iPhone 5 production lines were "in a state of paralysis" after as many as 4,000 workers walked off the job at a factory in China, according to a labor group. A strike occurred at a Foxconn factory in Zhengzhou at 1 p.m. Beijing time Friday because workers were forced to work during a holiday, China Labor Watch said. The organization also reported that Foxconn raised demands on product quality without providing proper training, so workers turned out products that didn't meet standards; that "ultimately put a tremendous amount of pressure on workers.
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.
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.
March 30, 2014 | By Peter Dreier and Harold Meyerson
Many cities are pricey places to live. Acknowledging that reality, a growing number of cities have adopted higher minimum-wage standards than those set by the federal and state governments. San Francisco is on that list, as are San Jose, Seattle (where efforts are underway to raise the hourly minimum to $15), Washington (and two adjacent Maryland counties), Albuquerque and Santa Fe, N.M. Even in San Diego, no bastion of liberalism, the City Council is moving to put a wage hike before local voters.
March 29, 2014 | By Laura J. Nelson
During a packed and sometimes tense four-hour public hearing Saturday, Los Angeles County transportation officials heard a litany of complaints from transit riders who said a proposed Metro fare hike would strain the budgets of students and working-class families. A crowd of more than 500 activists, students and low-wage workers packed Metro's downtown boardroom and spilled into the cafeteria as speaker after speaker pressed elected officials to avoid fare increases or service cutbacks.
March 29, 2014 | By Alana Semuels
RIDGELAND, Miss. - Over the bass beat coming from the band, the Rev. Charles Miller is leading his congregation in boisterous prayer. As his voice rings out, blessing the community and the oppressed, the congregation affirming each line, he names a new group that he says deserves God's attention. "We pray for the employees who are working at Nissan," Miller says, and the dozens of women and men in the pews say amen to that, too. "We pray you wake up the conscience of those that are oppressing them," he says.
March 28, 2014 | Richard Winton, Kate Mather and Dan Weikel
As the sea of luggage twists and turns down rollers from terminals at Los Angeles International Airport, the bags stop briefly at large platforms where workers separate them for flights across the world. It is there, police said, that a group of baggage handlers pulled off one of the largest property heists in airport history. For months, detectives said, workers rifled through bags looking for items to steal. "Basically everything of value -- be it electronics, jewelry and items -- that could be stolen in seconds would be removed from bags," LAX Police Chief Pat Gannon said.
March 26, 2014 | By W.J. Hennigan
About 150 employees at rocket engine maker Aerojet Rocketdyne in Canoga Park were told Wednesday that they would be laid off as part of a companywide reduction that the company says is related to last year's merger. Aerojet Rocketdyne was created by the sale of Rocketdyne to GenCorp Inc. for $550 million, a deal that was finalized last summer. It brought together two major California rocket companies - and longtime competitors. GenCorp already owned Aerojet, the Sacramento aerospace firm founded in 1942.
March 16, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
Last week President Obama ordered the Department of Labor to revise regulations determining which workers qualify for federal overtime protections, a move that was presented as a way to increase income for some lower-wage workers. It's not. In reality, it's a matter of basic fairness. The issue begins with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which established the national minimum wage for most workers and guaranteed overtime pay for more than 40 hours of work a week. But the law also allowed overtime exemptions to be set by the Labor Department.
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.
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.
March 14, 2014 | By Dan Weikel
Citing the recent death of a baggage handler at Los Angeles International Airport, state legislators on Friday called for committee hearings to assess worker safety at California airports. Although Cal/OSHA is looking into the death of Cesar A. Valenzuela on Feb. 21, a group of lawmakers announced at a news conference in downtown Los Angeles that they would conduct a wider investigation. "This is a horrible tragedy and we must find out if this could have been prevented," said state Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance)
March 14, 2014 | By E. Scott Reckard
A former Fannie Mae employee was convicted late Friday of soliciting kickbacks from a broker with promises to steer lucrative listings of foreclosed homes his way. The federal court jury in Santa Ana convicted Armando Granillo of three counts of fraud, rejecting his contention that he intended to cheat only the broker, not Fannie Mae, the nation's largest home-finance firm. At the end of a two-day trial, the jury took less than two hours to convict Granillo, who sat grimly as each of the jurors affirmed the guilty verdicts.
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