Tag Archives: workers’ issues

OSHA Fines Amazon ‘Roughly 0.000013%’ of Annual Revenue for Worker Safety Hazards

For serious injuries linked to the company’s insistence that employees maintain a relentless pace of work, Amazon was fined $60,000—the amount it made “every four seconds in 2022.”

By Julia Conley.  Published 1-19-2023 by Common Dreams

Amazon Warehouse. Photo: Jaimie Wilson/flickr/CC

A paltry $60,000 fine for failing to keep employees safe at one of the world’s richest companies offered the latest evidence, according to one critic, that the system ostensibly meant to protect workers “is so broken.”

That was the assessment of Paris Marx, host of the podcast “Tech Won’t Save Us,” after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced Wednesday it had issued a citation to Amazon for worker safety violations at three of its warehouses in Deltona, Florida; Waukegan, Illinois; and New Windsor, New York. Continue reading

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Because Congress ‘Won’t Act,’ Lawmakers in Seven States Team Up to Introduce Wealth Tax Bills

“States are stepping up to make billionaires pay their fair share, and it’s time for Congress to take action too,” said U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

By Jake Johnson.  Published 1-18-2023 by Common Dreams

Photo: Fibonacci Blue/flickr/CC

Frustrated with federal inaction in the face of soaring inequality, Democratic lawmakers in seven states across the U.S. are teaming up this week to simultaneously introduce wealth tax bills targeting the fortunes of billionaires and other rich individuals who have seen their net worth explode in recent years.

Officially launching on Thursday, the first-of-its-kind effort is led by state lawmakers in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Hawaii, Maryland, New York, and Washington—collectively home to around 60% of the country’s wealth. Continue reading

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Progressive Democrats Announce Nationwide Democracy Rallies for Jan. 6 Anniversary

“We cannot be complacent; we are calling for an end to the ongoing violent and criminal attacks on our freedoms.”

By Julia Conley  Published 1-2-2023 by Common Dreams

March on Washington for voting rights on August 28, 2021 Photo: Elvert Barnes/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Progressive Democrats of America on Monday announced plans to hold rallies across the nation on Friday, the second anniversary of the January 6, 2021 insurrection, to call on lawmakers to do everything in their power to protect the U.S. from attacks on democracy, including the gutting of voting rights protections and threats to election officials.

The rallies are set to be held two weeks after the U.S. House select committee on the January 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol released its final report on an 18-month investigation into the insurrection and former President Donald Trump’s role in planning and orchestrating the attempt to stop lawmakers from certifying the 2020 presidential election. Continue reading

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West Virginia Journalist Fired in Alleged Retaliation Over Reporting on Abuse in State Facilities

Amelia Knisely’s reporting allegedly sparked threats from the state health department.

By Julia Conley.  Published 12-29-2022 by Common Dreams

The William Sharpe Jr. Hospital is shown in Weston, West Virginia.
(Photo: West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services)

A journalist at West Virginia Public Broadcasting, the state’s public television and radio news network, was fired from her position after reporting on abuses taking place at state-run psychiatric facilities—reporting that allegedly sparked threats from state health officials and pressure on the network to change its coverage of the state government.

Amelia Knisely published a report on November 3 about abuses suffered by people with disabilities at William R. Sharpe, Jr. Hospital and other facilities run by the state Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), and a call by state Senate President Craig Blair, a Republican, for GOP Gov. Jim Justice’s administration to investigate the hospital. Continue reading

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Record Number of US Cities, Counties, and States to Raise Minimum Wage in 2023

“The monumental impact of the Fight for $15 is clearly visible in this year’s record wage increases,” said one worker advocate. “While it is encouraging to see boosts… we need federal policy.”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 12-22-2022 by Common Dreams

Strike and protest for a $15/hour minimum wage at the University of Minnesota in 2015 Photo: Fibonacci Blue/flickr/CC

After a decade since the launch of the Fight for $15 movement in New York City, a record number of U.S. states and communities are set to raise the minimum wage in the new year.

From New Year’s Eve to New Year’s Day, the minimum wage will increase in 23 states and 41 cities and counties, according to a report released Thursday by the National Employment Law Project (NELP). In 40 of those 64 jurisdictions, it will hit or exceed $15 an hour for at least some workers. Continue reading

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Tom Cotton Blocks Senate PRESS Act Designed to Protect Journalists

“Sen. Cotton’s hostility to press freedoms demonstrates exactly why these protections are needed,” said one advocate, calling for inclusion of the bill in an end-of-year spending package.

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 12-14-2022 by Common Dreams

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

Republican Sen. Tom Cotton on Wednesday blocked the passage of a House-approved bipartisan bill that’s been heralded by advocates as “the most important free press legislation in modern times.”

The Senate had in recent days faced mounting pressure from journalists, press freedom groups, and others to follow the House’s lead and approve the Protect Reporters From Exploitative State Spying (PRESS) Act, spearheaded by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.). Continue reading

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Journalism Defenders Push for Passage of ‘Game-Changing’ PRESS Act

“The PRESS Act is the most important free press legislation in modern times because it would finally stop the government from spying on journalists and threatening them with arrest for doing their jobs,” explained one advocate.

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 12-7-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: AFGE/flickr/CC

Free press advocates this week urged people to contact Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office and ask the New York Democrat to pass legislation protecting journalists from government abuses during the closing days of the current Congress.

“The time between an election and the inauguration of a new Congress—or the lame-duck, as it is affectionately known—is ironically a time when things can happen on the Hill, in part because departing members don’t have to worry about reelection,” Emily Hockett, a Technology Press Freedom Project fellow, wrote for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Continue reading

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Citing Orwell, Judge Blocks ‘Positively Dystopian’ Censorship Law Backed by DeSantis

The federal judge lambasted Florida officials’ argument that “professors enjoy ‘academic freedom’ so long as they express only those viewpoints of which the state approves.”

By Jake Johnson  Published 11-17-2022 by Common Dreams

Governor Ron DeSantis speaking with attendees at the 2021 Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

In an order that begins by quoting the famous opening line of George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, a federal judge on Thursday blocked key provisions of a Florida censorship law that aimed to restrict how state university professors teach race, gender, and U.S. history.

“‘It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen,’ and the powers in charge of Florida’s public university system have declared the state has unfettered authority to muzzle its professors in the name of ‘freedom,'” Judge Mark Walker of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, an Obama appointee, wrote in his scathing decision, which temporarily halts enforcement of parts of the law championed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis—a possible 2024 presidential candidate. Continue reading

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‘Horrendous’: Labor Dept Accuses Company of Employing Dozens of Children at Slaughterhouses

“Taking advantage of children, exposing them to workplace dangers—and interfering with a federal investigation—demonstrates Packers Sanitation Services Inc.’s flagrant disregard for the law and for the wellbeing of young workers,” said the Labor Department.

By Julia Conley  Published 11-11-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: USDA/flickr

A federal judge on Thursday granted a nationwide injunction against an industrial cleaning company, ordering the company to end its use of “oppressive child labor” after an investigation found it was employing dozens of children as young as 13—some of whom were injured while working in meatpacking facilities.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) requested the injunction in a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska after completing an investigation of Packers Sanitation Services, Inc. (PSSI) that began in late August. Continue reading

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Trump Reportedly Seeking Tips for Imprisoning Journalists If Reelected in 2024

“We’ve become used to this sort of thing from him, but we shouldn’t,” said one critic of the former president.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 11-8-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

Amid speculation that former U.S. President Donald Trump will announce his 2024 run next week, Rolling Stone reported Tuesday that the Republican leader has sought advice about how he could ramp up his war with the news media by jailing journalists if he regains control of the White House.

Trump’s first presidential campaign and four years in office featured constant attacks on reporters, outlets, and the industry in general, from his frequent declarations of “fake news” to going after journalists for reporting on leaked information. Continue reading

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