California farmworkers living in fear of deportation; Ontario health care workers call on officials to address violence in the workplace; West Virginia legislators consider dramatic loosening of mine safety standards; and thousands of workers get ready to strike on May 1.
Hardly a day goes by lately without another story on companies like Uber and their model of classifying workers as independent contractors while treating them more like traditional employees and sidestepping traditional employer responsibilities. It’s a model that has serious implications for workers’ rights and wages. However, there’s another form of employment that may be even more damaging to hard-fought labor standards: subcontracting.
Although the US still has a long way to go in preventing unintended pregnancies, an article published earlier this month in the New England Journal of Medicine had some good news: The proportion of US pregnancies that were unintended dropped from 51% in 2008 to 45% in 2011.
Just another example of how cuts to health care funding simply shift the costs and endanger people’s health. This time it’s a study on the impact of eliminating adult dental coverage within the California Medicaid program. Not surprisingly, the cut resulted in a significant and immediate rise in people seeking help in hospital emergency departments.
In a somewhat frightening illustration of anti-vaccine trends, a new report estimates that among groups affected in the recent measles outbreak, the rates of measles-mumps-rubella immunization might have been as low as 50 percent.
In the first study of its kind, researchers have found that improved air quality in southern California had a direct effect on children’s respiratory health. The findings point to the effectiveness of smart public health policy — in other words, even as southern California experienced increases in traffic and commerce, aggressive air pollution policies resulted in cleaner air and healthier kids.
Introduction of a new TSCA reform bill is expected some time this spring. In the meantime, The Pump Handle takes a look at what's at stake in TSCA reform and why the outcome matters to those who care about protecting and improving occupational and public health.
Treatment, Not Prison: Reforming Sentences for Low-Level Crimes Will Boost Health and Safety for All Californians
By Kim Gilhuly Reforming California’s sentences for low-level crimes would [...]
Crystalline silica, hydrofluoric acid and formaldehyde. Those are just three of the dozens of air toxic chemicals that oil companies have used thousands of times in southern California in just the past year.
California’s workforce has grown by about 22 percent in the last 20 years but the number of safety inspectors for the 17 million people employed in the state’s 1.34 million workplaces has decreased by about 11 percent. This leaves California's workforce – the largest of any US state – with the lowest number of inspectors per workers of any state with its own occupational safety and health plan for private-sector workers. California has so few workplace safety inspectors that it would take 173 years to inspect each workplace in the state just once.