Showing posts with label DOL. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DOL. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Did ICE Violate Its Own Deportation Guidelines in Arresting Chicago-Area Unionized Meatpackers?

On Friday, June 26, workers from the Ruprecht Company’s meatpacking factory in Mundelein, Illinois, walked off the job in a spontaneous strike against a pending immigration audit. Several weeks later, eight Ruprecht workers, three of whom are members of UNITE HERE Local 1, have been apprehended by immigration authorities.
In a statement, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said the eight workers were picked up after the department discovered the workers had records that fall within its priorities for arrest during a routine immigration audit. ICE claims the workers’ past charges include drunk driving, theft and felony fraud. But organizers argue that the audit and subsequent arrests, which took place while a group of Ruprecht workers were in union negotiations and followed the filing of two unfair labor practices (ULPs) could violate ICE’s own rules against interfering in workplaces that are in the midst of labor disputes.  
(Garrett Wilber/ Flickr)  According to a December 2011 memorandum between ICE and the Department of Labor, “ICE agrees to refrain from engaging in civil work site enforcement activities at a worksite that is the subject of an existing DOL investigation of a labor dispute.” The memorandum opens the door to several exceptions to this pledge, including national security issues, but primarily creates a space for ICE and the DOL to consider individual cases. 
Dan Abraham, organizing director for UNITE HERE Local 1, says the department should heed its own edict. “ICE should stay out of the workforce when there is collective bargaining, and immigration audits should not be conducted in workplaces where there are unfair labor practice charges pending,” he says.
ICE contends that it “plays no role in any ongoing labor disputes when conducting investigations involving an employee’s eligibility to work lawfully in the United States.” But an immigration audit can have consequences that weaken a unionized workplace. Tim Bell, an organizer with the Chicago Workers’ Collaborative who is not involved with the Ruprecht case but is a longtime organizer with immigrant workers, says he has seen several cases where an audit has caused unionized employees to either quit their jobs for fear of deportation or be apprehended as a result of the audit.
The result, says Bell, is “the union loses its members and the company figures out ways to replace those workers,” often with temp workers.
Whether the eight workers are eligible for relief under some of the Obama administration’s prosecutorial discretion or deferred action programs is unclear. In November 2014, immigration authorities divided ICE priorities for deportation into three categories, with individuals who had felonies at level one, the “highest priority” for apprehension and removal for the department. Some immigrants who are in deportation proceedings may qualify for asylum under the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) plan, but the order has been stalled amidst a legal battle around its constitutionality.
By the estimation of the detained immigrants, however, the enforcement priorities don’t appear to make a significant difference, says Hena Mansori, supervising attorney of the National Immigrant Justice Center’s Adult Detention Project.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Labor Department Employee Looked At Porn For HOURS Every Day

A Department of Labor (DOL) official looked at porn for hours every single day and wasn’t fired for months.
The Daily Caller first reported that a DOL “Grade 14 employee” — who made between $107,325 and $139,523 per year on the taxpayer dime — was caught looking at pornography at work on his official government computer.
Now new information has emerged on the porn-watcher and his obsessive, libidinous habits.
The Daily Mail obtained redacted copies of DOL inspector general reports through a Freedom of Information Act request that detail the employee’s self-confessed porn addiction.
The worker “downloaded a voluminous amount of adult pornographic movies and images,” according to the reports.
He also “entered the name of actress Alyssa Milano on [his] computer and pornographic sites appeared.”
His porn-watching was all-consuming. The employee “visited pornographic sites for several hours a day.”
His habits were first noticed by a colleague in August 2014, but the employee was not fired for another four months.
DOL could have vetted the porn addict before he ever started getting taxpayer money. According to the reports, the employee was fired from a previous job for “accessing sites with women wearing little clothing.”
Alyssa Milano, 42, was a regular on the television series “Who’s The Boss” before appearing nude in films, according to the Daily Mail report.
It is unclear whether the employee ever pursued his work habit to completion.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Minimum Wage Hike a Blow to Young Job Seekers

Governor Brown has indicated he will sign a two-dollar increase in the minimum wage, which he brokered in the Legislature. This is unfortunate news for young and unskilled workers, who will be hardest hit by the mandated 25% hike over the next two years. (In 2012, the California minimum wage was $8.00/hour, compared with the federal minimum wage of $7.25/hour.)
According to the US Department of Labor, minimum wage workers tend to be young. Although workers under age 25 represented only about one-fifth of hourly paid workers, they made up about half of those paid the federal minimum wage or less. Among employed teenagers paid by the hour, about 21 percent earned the minimum wage or less, compared with about 3 percent of workers age 25 and over.
Our youngest residents are also those who are finding it most difficult to find work, even as the economy is in recovery. Young adults face an unemployment rate north of 15 percent, while teenage unemployment is nearly 35 percent.
According to UC Irvine economist David Neumark, we can expect an increase in the minimum wage to be followed by a decrease in youth employment, as much as a 3.75% drop in employment as a result of this legislation. This mandated wage hike will make a terrible situation even worse.
Noted economist Robert Samuelson has written:
Companies that think themselves condemned to losses or meager profits won’t expand. Not surprisingly, a study by two economists at Texas A&M finds that the minimum wage’s biggest adverse effects are on future job growth, not current employment. To this defect must be added another: An excessively high minimum will attract more skilled workers, denying the less skilled an entry point to work and on-the-job training.
Last year, California public high schools graduated fewer than 79% of the 12th grade cohort that began in the 9th grade. The graduation rate for Hispanic and African American students was even worse: 73.5% and 65.9%, respectively.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Green Jobs: Surely You’re Joking, Mr. President

In his speech at Knox College, President Obama laid out his plan for the Detroitification of America: higher taxes, higher spending, increased minimum wages, more mandates, and rerouting the path of upward mobility through tried-and-failed social programs.
He blames unfettered markets for taking America away from the halcyon days of the 1950s and 1960s, ignoring the phenomenal growth of taxes, spending, and regulation since then. His promise for more of the same makes you wonder if his teleprompter has been inverting his charts and tables.
However, in his depressing litany, he provided some comic relief by repeating the old green jobs joke that more expensive energy creates jobs. The punch line has been provided (repeatedly) by his own Administration’s Department of Labor. In a series of green jobs reports—which was mercifully ended by sequestration after only two reports—the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) published tables that provide mirth beyond measure in the form of comical comparisons.
We have discussed those reports herehere, and here. A couple of points from those analyses illustrate the inanity of the reports’ conclusions:
  • The BLS found 33 times as many green jobs in the septic tank and portable toilet servicing industry as in solar electricity utilities.
  • The BLS determined that there were more green jobs collecting trash (not processing but simply collecting) than in either architectural services or engineering services

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