Sep. 17, 2013

Obama Administration Extends Federal Minimum Wage and Overtime Protections to Nationís Home Care Wo

Washington, DC—The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the release of long-awaited final rules that extend federal minimum wage and overtime protections to two million of our nation’s home care workers.  The National Employment Law Project praised the move, which corrects a decades-old injustice that has fueled poverty-level wages and destabilized an increasingly crucial industry. 

"Home care workers provide crucial in-home care and support for our elderly or disabled family members, friends, and neighbors; yet these workers have struggled to support their own families,” said Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project.  “These reforms are a critical step towards improving wages in one of our country’s fastest-growing occupations.  We applaud the Obama administration for keeping its promise to these workers.” 

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FILED UNDER: DOL | Domestic/Homecare Workers | Regulations

Nov. 2, 2012

New Report Details Abusive Working Conditions in Meatpacking and Poultry Plants

A new report authored by the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights and the University of Minnesota Human Rights Program details dangerous conditions persist for food and worker safety in meat and poultry processing plants. The report summarizes in-depth interviews with meat and poultry workers in 6 focus groups in 5 sites across 2 states, Iowa and Minnesota. 

Always Working Beyond the Capacity of Our Bodies: Meat and Poultry Processing Work Conditions and Human Rights in the Midwest” is a report based on in-depth focus group interviews with workers in rural Minnesota and Iowa communities. It documents a number of significant concerns about safety and other work conditions in meatpacking and poultry plants. Most notably, workers linked serious injuries to the rapid speed of the production line. Workers also described being exposed on a regular basis to dangerous chemicals on the factory floor. Finally workers reported facing discrimination and abuse from supervisors. The report also describes the unique abuses faced by immigrant workers.

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FILED UNDER: Immigrant Workers | Regulations | Workersí Compensation

Sep. 26, 2012

Coalition of Rights Groups Urges USDA to Withdraw Poultry Slaughter Proposal

A coalition of 25 groups and 17 individuals, including NELP, has urged the Department of Agriculture to withdraw a proposal that increases poultry processing line speeds and removes hundreds of federal inspectors from poultry processing plants.

The proposal, which would modify USDA’s poultry slaughter inspection program, increases the poultry line speed to an unsafe level and allows plant employees to replace federal government inspectors for certain inspection activities. In addition, the proposal reduces the numbers of federal inspectors working at poultry plants. While the poultry inspection program does need improving, the proposal was developed with limited public input. USDA did not consult with its inspection advisory committee prior to issuing its proposal; nor were public meetings held to solicit the views of the public before the proposal was announced. In addition, the groups highlighted a number of critical food safety and worker safety concerns raised by the proposal.

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FILED UNDER: Regulations | Worksite Enforcement

Apr. 11, 2012

USDA Proposes New Regulations Endangering Poultry Workers; Requests for Public Comment

The USDA has proposed new regulations on poultry inspection that may endanger workers in poultry plants—the vast majority of whom are immigrant and low-wage workers. The regulation creates a new inspection system that requires workers to process up to 175 birds per minute—an increase of about 50 to 100 percent, which puts worker safety at risk.  

Low wage worker advocates are requesting that community members submit comments to the USDA requesting an extension of the comment period, and withdrawal of the rule until comprehensive studies can be conducted by NIOSH to determine the effect on poultry plant line workers’ health and safety.

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FILED UNDER: Agricultural Workers | Immigrant Workers | Low-Wage Workers | Regulations

Mar. 20, 2012

Congressional Testimony: Home Care Industry Needs Minimum Wage Protections

Washington, DC – A nearly forty-year-old rule that exempts the nation’s 2.5 million home care workers from federal minimum wage laws could be revised under a Department of Labor proposal that would grant this burgeoning workforce the same wage protections other workers have relied on for decades.

In testimony today before a panel at the House Committee on Education & the Workforce, the National Employment Law Project (NELP) explained that the DOL updates would help alleviate the critical challenges facing the home care industry, which include increased demand for affordable care, a rise in worker turnover, poverty-level wages and deteriorating conditions for care providers and recipients.

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FILED UNDER: Caregivers | DOL | Domestic/Homecare Workers | Regulations

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