March 14, 2007 The Pump Handle 0Comment

Kristin Collins of The News & Observer (Raleigh, NC) reports that some produce growers in North Carolina aren no longer content with the Mexican farmworkers who come to the the U.S. on temporary visas. Some of these workers have unionized and begun demanding better wages and work schedules. So, when a labor contracting company began offering “workers so indebted that they would abide almost any working conditions,” some companies took them up on the offer. The workers came from Thailand and other South Asian countries, and some of them are now suing the labor contractor for stealing their money, failing to pay them for their work, and holding them captive with threats of violence.

More occupational health news below the fold.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: The Mine Safety and Health Administration is behind on mine inspections and is having a hard time reaching the staffing levels needed for this work.

UFCW: Legislation has been introduced in the House to require OSHA to complete its rulemaking on Employer Payment for Personal Protective Equipment for workers, which would require employers to pay the costs of protective clothing, lifelines, face shields, gloves and other equipment to protect workers from job hazards.

Empire State News: Federal lawmakers from New York state have introduced legislation to allow former employees of Bethlehem Steel and other former New York atomic weapons production facilities to be granted status that would allow them to receive compensation under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program. (Read more about this program here.)

Associated Press: People who travel long distances by air are often warned of the risk of deep vein thrombosis, but a new study finds that office workers who sit for long hours at a time are at greater risk for developing this life-threatening condition.

News Journal: A new program for employees and retired employees of the state of Delaware aims to lower insurance costs by providing free health-risk evaluation and programs to help people adopt healthy habits.

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