Illegal activities of Southern Bosses for the week ending on Friday, September 15
COAL CRETINS CRYING POOR
From the West Virginia Gazette:
Coal industry bosses owe more than $16 million in unpaid federal mine safety fines as of the end of July 2023.
“Unpaid mine safety fines are the equivalent of a rude gesture from mine operators to Congress and MSHA,” UMW spokeswoman Erin Bates said in an email. “It leads to a lack of accountability and compromises the safety of miners.”
In particular: Mines controlled by Justice and his two adult children owed $3.09 million in delinquent federal mine safety fines as of July, according to data uncovered by a Gazette-Mail Freedom of Information Act request. The Justices’ mine safety debt comprised nearly a fifth of total debt nationwide, according to Mine Safety and Health Administration data.
The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered $693,100 in back wages and damages after its investigations determined a Georgia-based prime contractor schemed to deny payment of overtime wages to 110 construction workers from 12 states employed on several hotel renovation projects in Honolulu between 2019 and 2022.
Investigators with the department’s Wage and Hour Division found S&A Industries Inc. of Suwanee, Georgia paid the affected workers straight-time rates for all hours worked, and used a series of illegal payment arrangements to avoid paying overtime wages for hours over 40 in a workweek. The workers were employed by seven subcontractors to complete various renovation projects at Hilton and Marriott resorts.
In addition to recovering $346,550 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages, the department assessed S&A Industries with $40,000 in civil money penalties for its repeated and willful FLSA violations. Wages and damages recovered range from $1,207 to $28,177 per worker.
In fiscal year 2022, the division recovered more than $32.9 million in back wages for 17,127 construction industry workers. The division completed more than 2,200 investigations in FY22 in the construction industry and by wages recovered, the industry ranks first among the low wage, high violation industries investigated by the division.
On March 27, 2023, an 18-year-old employee of a Missouri contractor was applying sealant to a commercial building’s roof when he fell more than 22 feet and suffered serious injuries that left him in a coma for five days before dying.
After the tragic fall, the employer — Troyer Constructors LLP, operating as Troyer Roofing & Coatings — allowed a foreman and another worker to continue working without fall protection until they finished their shift. In addition, inspectors with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration learned the Jamesport employer had fall protection available but allowed employees to decide if they wanted to use it.
OSHA investigators determined that, in addition to not ensuring that employees used fall protection, the contractor failed to train them on how to use it. Investigators also found Troyer Roofing did not train employees on proper forklift operations, failed to provide workers with face and eye protection, and did not have a written hazard communication program for sealants and other chemicals the employer used.
OSHA cited Troyer Roofing & Coatings for one willful violation, three serious violations and one other-than serious violation and proposed penalties of $205,369. The agency cited the company for similar fall protection violations in 2015.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Security Engineers, Inc., a Birmingham, Alabama-based company specializing in contract security services which operates in at least 14 states, violated federal law when it denied female applicants employment and job assignments because of their sex, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit.
Delaware-based TCI of Alabama, LLC, a recycler of large items such as transformers and electrical equipment which operates a single plant located in Pell City, Alabama, violated federal law by firing an employee for participating in an internal investigation of alleged sex discrimination, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit.
Two weeks after federal workplace safety inspectors warned the operator of a Tamuning construction company of hazardous conditions facing employees working in an excavation, they returned to find the company again exposing workers to potentially deadly trench hazards as they installed a sewer line at the Paradise Court subdivision in Mangilao. The DOL proposes $73,000 in penalties.
Investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found minimum wage violations after Sharky’s deducted pay from 66 employees wages for uniforms which caused their pay rate to fall below minimum wage rates for all hours worked. Additionally, the employer failed to pay 81 workers the correct over time rate. $47,000 in back wages and damages were recovered for 107 workers.
A U.S. Department of Labor workplace safety investigation has found that a Houston-based contractor willfully and repeatedly exposed its workers to falls, electrical hazards and amputations, including a lack of log out tag out procedures. The agency proposed $370,000 in penalties.
HELP WANTED TO STOP BOSSES
U.S. Department of Labor investigators are seeking to interview employees at a Hattiesburg poultry plant as they continue their probe into the death of a 16-year-old worker in July 2023.
The department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Wage and Hour Division have opened workplace safety and child labor investigations at the Mar-Jac Poultry MS LLC plant. To aid the investigation, OSHA obtained a warrant from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi to secure access to the Mar-Jac facility and investigate safety hazards related to the incident. The warrant allowed federal officials to question any employer, operator, agent or employee privately and to review records related to the operation and maintenance of the equipment involved in the incident.
Employees at the Mar-Jac Poultry plant in Hattiesburg are asked to contact OSHA at 855-321-6742 or the Jackson Area Office at 601-965-4606, confidentially if they choose, if they have facts that might assist the investigations. Plant workers can also submit a confidential complaint online.
To support the investigations, OSHA representatives are working closely with local community groups to establish trust with workers and their families. In addition, the agency is collaborating with advocacy groups, such as the Immigrant Alliance for Justice & Equity of Mississippi, to contact immigrant workers fearful of retaliation by their employer if they cooperate with investigators.
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