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NEWS
March 13, 2014 | By Christi Parsons
WASHINGTON -- Saying it's “just fair” for more Americans to earn overtime pay, President Obama on Thursday directed the Labor Department to come up with new rules to expand the number of workers eligible. Before sitting down to sign a presidential memorandum to “modernize” work rules, Obama told a crowd gathered at the White House that the current standards are no longer adequate. Many workers in the U.S. earn roughly an hourly wage but don't qualify for overtime because they're designated as management.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 12, 2014 | By James Rainey
A nonprofit that operates 10 health centers downtown, in South Los Angeles and in Compton will increase its employees' pay to a minimum of $15 an hour in what it deemed an anti-poverty measure intended to jump-start "living wage" efforts around the region. The wage hike by St. John's Well Child and Family Center, to be announced Thursday, will increase the pay of 137 workers, many of whom now make $11 to $12 an hour. The chief executive of the health provider said that as it celebrates its 50th year in existence, St. John's wants to honor its historic roots.
OPINION
March 10, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
Income inequality, persistent poverty and the lack of economic mobility are not only some of the most salient political issues of 2014 but are fundamental challenges that affect the prosperity of the country and the stability of our communities. About 25% of families with children in the city of Los Angeles live in poverty, according to the Census Bureau. And even many people whose earnings exceed the federal poverty line struggle to make ends meet. Nearly half of all workers in Los Angeles earn less than $15 an hour, which some advocates for the poor believe is the minimum necessary to afford basic housing, food and transportation.
BUSINESS
March 9, 2014 | Liz Weston, Money Talk
Dear Liz: I just received my tax forms from my employer for last year. I was originally a W-2 employee, paid hourly, as a receptionist. But it seems that at some point during the year, my employer changed me to a 1099 employee without telling me or having me fill out paperwork. After researching the characteristics of a 1099 employee, I found I do not qualify at all. I am upset that I will have to pay taxes on this income, since I thought they were being withheld from my pay. Do I have any recourse?
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 9, 2014 | By Bob Pool
Officials kept their cool as they turned up the heat to finish construction of a new central utility plant in the middle of Los Angeles International Airport. LAX operators invited retired plant engineers to return and help run the old heating and cooling plant while current engineers were being trained to operate a new $438-million facility. On Tuesday, the retirees will be on hand at noon when 79-year-old former chief building operating engineer Walt Garrick flips the switch to shut down the old plant, which has been in continuous operation keeping airport passengers and workers comfortable since 1961.
BUSINESS
March 7, 2014 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- The weather was unusually bad in much of the country last month, so why was Friday's government jobs report surprisingly good? The economy added 175,000 net new jobs in February, up from a revised 129,000 the previous month. The figure exceeded analyst expectations of about 150,000 jobs, and some were predicting a much lower number because of the bitter cold and snow. Labor Department data show the weather cost workers significant hours on the job. PHOTOS: Federal Reserve chairs through the years But partly because of the way the government crunches the numbers, the weather didn't appear to have cost the economy jobs in any major way. "Anecdotally, just walking around the streets in the Midwest and the Northeast, you would think that economic activity had slowed and that includes hiring by businesses, but we're not really seeing it in the numbers," said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi in New York.
BUSINESS
March 7, 2014 | By Jerry Hirsch
California loves Tesla Motors. The Palo Alto electric car maker's Model S sedan is the state's new eco-luxury status symbol. Californians bought more than a third of Teslas sold globally last year. Residents of the state pack the order list for Tesla's next offering, a sport utility vehicle. California pollution-control policies enable Tesla to rake in tens of millions of dollars each year from selling environmental credits to other automakers - a key source of Tesla's revenue.
NATIONAL
March 4, 2014 | By Ralph Vartabedian
The Energy Department, dealing with twin setbacks in its long effort to deal with Cold War-era radioactive waste, said Tuesday it was stopping construction of a massive plant in South Carolina to handle surplus plutonium and proceeding with an investigation into a leak at a nuclear dump in New Mexico that exposed 13 workers to airborne plutonium. In releasing its fiscal 2015 budget, energy officials said they were stopping construction of the "mixed oxide fuel" plant at the Savannah River site in South Carolina.
NATIONAL
March 4, 2014 | By Paresh Dave
A “rather large” gas line explosion in central New Jersey injured seven workers and wrecked parts of a suburban condo complex Tuesday afternoon, authorities said. Flames, debris and dark smoke soared into the Ewing Township sky about 12:50 p.m., and video from the scene showed fire crews still dousing the rubble with water two hours later. Public Service Electric & Gas Co., the energy utility for the area, said in a statement that a contractor reported damage to the gas line shortly before noon.
BUSINESS
March 4, 2014 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - Outside accountants and lawyers who reveal fraud and wrongdoing at publicly traded companies are protected as whistle-blowers just as employees are, the Supreme Court ruled, expanding the reach of an anti-fraud law passed in the wake of the collapse of companies such as Enron Corp. and WorldCom Inc. The 6-3 decision Tuesday will affect the mutual fund and financial services industries in particular because they rely heavily on outside contractors and advisors. Denying whistle-blower protection to all outside employees of such companies would leave a "huge hole" in the 2002 law, said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, noting that most mutual fund companies hire independent investment advisors and contractors rather than employees.
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