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National COSH Releases New Report On 50,000+ Annual Preventable Workplace Deaths

Report: 50,000+ Fatalities Annually from Workplace Injuries and Illnesses:
Deaths Can Be Prevented, Safety Experts Say

Study Highlights High Risks Faced by Hispanic Workers;
Calls for More Spanish-Language Outreach and Enhanced Whistleblower Protection 

Mexican Worker (image by Wiki Commons)

SAN DIEGO,CA – More than 50,000 U.S. workers die each year due to occupational injuries and illnesses, says “Preventable Death 2014,” an upcoming report from the National Council on Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH). 

“No one should have to risk their life simply to earn a living,” said Jessica Martinez, deputy director of National COSH. “Many of the injuries and illnesses that are killing American workers can be prevented.  We know the safety systems, equipment and training that can stop people from dying on the job, and it’s absolutely urgent that we take action to protect workers and their families.”

“After what I saw and lived through,” said Joyce Gilliard “I want to advocate for safety and prevent any other tragedies or injuries in the workplace.” Gilliard, a hair stylist, suffered a compound fracture when she survived a tragic incident on a train trestle which claimed the life of cinematographer Sarah Jones, 27, during a feature film shoot in Georgia on Feb. 20th.

“Preventable Deaths 2014” will combine data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on fatal workplace injuries with projections from peer-reviewed data on fatalities resulting from workplace illnesses such as cancer, respiratory, cardiovascular and renal disease.

The report from National COSH is being released in advance of Workers’ Memorial Week, a global event which commemorates workers who lost their lives on the job.  In the United States, more than 50 local communities in 27 states will honor fallen workers.   A listing of events is available on the National COSH website.

“Preventable Deaths 2014” will document the high rate of workplace fatalities due to injury experienced by Hispanic workers  — 4.2 deaths per 100,000 workers in 2012, compared to 3.7 deaths per 100,000 for the U.S. population as a whole.  This pattern of high risk for Hispanic workers, the report shows, has continued for at least the past five years.

“We know that Hispanic workers are in high-hazard jobs and training and communication make a huge difference, so we need to make sure training is available for all workers in a language they understand,” said Martinez. “That includes informing workers of their rights during any safety inspection that takes place in their workplace.”

“Preventable Deaths 2014” will also identity specific strategies to reduce workplace hazards in the six areas identified by BLS as leading causes of workplace fatalities:  Transportation incidents, contacts with objects and equipment, falls to a lower level, workplace, violence, exposure to harmful substances and environments, and fires and explosions.

Attempts by individual states to weaken safety standards – such as legislation in Arizona which weakens fall protection for construction workers – are moving in exactly the wrong direction said Peter Dooley, a Tucson-based senior consultant for National COSH.

“More than 100 workers fell to their deaths in Arizona during the past decade,” said Dooley. “Instead of weakening any rules, we should be implementing and enforcing the procedures that we know can save lives, like mandated use of safety protections systems to prevent falls.”

In addition to “Preventable Deaths 2014,” released on April 23rd by National COSH, local health and safety coalitions in California, Massachusetts, New York, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming will also release reports on workplace fatalities in their individual states next week, in conjunction with Worker Memorial Week activities.

* * *

National COSH links the efforts of local worker health and safety coalitions in communities across the United States, advocating for elimination of preventable hazards in the workplace. For more information, please visit  Follow us at National Council for Occupational Safety and Health on Facebook, and @NationalCOSH on Twitter.

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) will be appearing at the AFL-CIO’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on May 2 to promote her new book, A Fighting Chance, which chronicles her inspiring life story. From her working-class roots in Oklahoma to her successful 2012 campaign to replace incumbent Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R), Warren tells the passionate story of what drives her to fight for working people. Here are 12 key quotes from her that show why she is a champion of the 99%.

1. “There is nobody in this country who got rich on their own. Nobody. You built a factory out there—good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory….Now look. You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea—God bless! Keep a hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”—September 2011

2. “People feel like the system is rigged against them, and here is the painful part, they’re right. The system is rigged.”—September 2012

3. “Hardworking men and women who are busting their tails in full-time jobs shouldn’t be left in poverty.”—August 2013

4. “Look around. Oil companies guzzle down the billions in profits. Billionaires pay a lower tax rate than their secretaries, and Wall Street CEOs, the same ones that direct our economy and destroyed millions of jobs still strut around Congress, no shame, demanding favors, and acting like we should thank them. Does anyone here have a problem with that?”—September 2012

5. “It is critical that the American people, and not just their financial institutions, be represented at the negotiating table.”—Summer 2009

6. “Americans are fighters. We’re tough, resourceful and creative, and if we have the chance to fight on a level playing field, where everyone pays a fair share and everyone has a real shot, then no one—no one can stop us.”—September 2012

7. “And that’s how we build the economy of the future. An economy with more jobs and less debt, we root it in fairness. We grow it with opportunity. And we build it together.”—September 2012

8. “I understand the frustration, I share their frustration with what’s going on, that right now Washington is wired to work well for those on Wall Street who can hire lobbyists and lawyers and it doesn’t work very well for the rest of us.”—October 2011

9. “If you’re caught with an ounce of cocaine, the chances are good you’re going to jail….Evidently, if you launder nearly a billion dollars for drug cartels and violate our international sanctions, your company pays a fine and you go home and sleep in your own bed at night.”—March 2013

10. “Corporations are not people. People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick, they cry, they dance. They live, they love and they die. And that matters. That matters because we don’t run this country for corporations, we run it for people.”—September 2012

11. “If there had been a Financial Product Safety Commission in place 10 years ago, the current financial crisis would have been averted.”—Summer 2009

12. “Nobody’s safe. Health insurance? That didn’t protect 1 million Americans who were financially ruined by illness or medical bills last year.”—February 2005

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW



It seems that, with the exception of a small few, the restaurant owners affected by New York City’s new paid sick days legislation agree with it in principle, not practice.

Food blog Eater surveyed four small restaurant owners in New York City to get their thoughts about the new paid sick days law. Despite overwhelming evidence that points to the positives of the legislation, most of them disagreed with the law.

“Philosophically I completely love the idea of paid sick leave. I love the idea of a living wage,” says Monica Byrne, owner of Home/Made.

But then Byrne goes on to note that while she’s “all for getting us there” she’d prefer to do it “in a sane manner that doesn’t make it impossible for teeny little mom and pop—or mom and mom in my case—businesses to survive.”

In reality, there are thousands of workers and their families are struggling to survive while ill due to inadequate paid sick leave.

“In general I’m not against the law. I think it’s very good, especially for the back of house employees,” said William Tigertt, owner of N.Y.-based Freemans.

He then counters his own claim by noting that, “The way it shakes out, I think it will eventually end up eliminating more jobs as people try to cut back as much as they can, and do more quick service or fast casual concepts where there isn’t as much labor.”

Contrary to Tigertt’s statement, giving employees paid sick days doesn’t have a great financial impact on businesses.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, paid sick days costs employers less than 1 percent of employees average pay.

Still, there were a few restaurant owners who were in favor of the now final law.

James Mallios, owner of Amali, made the decision to give workers paid sick days over a month ago, for both business and moral reasons:

“I used to work at a job where I had sick days, and I didn’t think twice about it. Someone should be able to do that. It doesn’t make them a bad employee, it doesn’t make them a bad person, it just means their priorities are correctly aligned. And on a completely selfish level, in terms of dollars and cents, one of the most under-appreciated assets in the restaurant business is your employees. There’s an amazingly high cost to attrition.”

Photo courtesy of Peter Stevens via Flickr.


Join AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and Senator Elizabeth Warren for a discussion between two progressive champions on her inspiring new book, A Fighting Chance.

One lucky person will be randomly chosen to attend a special pre-reception. But you MUST RSVP!


Scene’s from today’s ‘Give America a Raise’ Bus Tour stop in Albuquerque, NM!

(via aflcio)


APWU Announces National Protest Of STAPLES Stores On April 27th

Postal Workers to Protest Privatization at
More than 50 Staples Stores
in 27 States on April 24

Message to Staples: The U.S. Mail Is Not for Sale

WASHINGTON – Thousands of members of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) and community activists will engage in…

Big Oil  Launches Earth Day Attack Ads Against Senator Shaheen In An Attempt To Buy A Seat For Scott Brown

Big Oil Koch Brothers Spending More To Buy
New Hampshire’s Senate Seat For Scott Brown

 Already More Than $2 Million Has Been
Spent Attacking New Hampshire’s Shaheen

Concord — Scott Brown’s Big Oil cronies are launching new attack ads in New Hampshire, an Earth Day assault providing more proof they want Scott Brown back in the U.S. Senate voting to protect their interests, not New Hampshire’s. Total spending from Big Oil, Wall Street, and conservative groups trying to buy New Hampshire’s Senate seat for Scott Brown now tops $2 million.

“We know the Big Oil Koch Brothers are prepared to spend millions to buy Scott Brown our Senate seat. Here is more proof,” said Vlacich.  ”Scott Brown voted for billions of dollars in special tax breaks for Big Oil, even when it meant middle class families had to pay more. Now the Koch brothers are spending big money on attack ads supporting Brown’s campaign because they want him back in the Senate again voting to protect their interests, not ours.”

“The Koch Brothers and Scott Brown don’t know New Hampshire.  You can’t buy a Senate seat here, you earn it by working hard and making a difference for the people of New Hampshire.  Granite Staters know and trust Jeanne Shaheen to fight for their interests and work to make a difference in their lives,” added Vlacich.

In his last campaign in Massachusetts, Scott Brown was caught on video thanking David Koch for his money and pleading for even more Big Oil contributions. Brown voted to protect Big Oil in the Senate, and he has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of campaign contributions from Big Oil for his campaigns.

For more information about the key difference in this race between Brown and Shaheen click here: .

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APWU Announces National Protest Of STAPLES Stores On April 27th

Postal Workers to Protest Privatization at
More than 50 Staples Stores 
in 27 States on April 24

Message to Staples: The U.S. Mail Is Not for Sale

WASHINGTON – Thousands of members of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) and community activists will engage in National Day of Action on Thursday, April 24, to protest the Postal Service’s sweetheart deal with Staples that is moving mail service into Staples stores.  Events will be held at more than 50 Staples retail locations across 27 states.

In October, the USPS announced a no-bid deal to open postal counters in more than 80 Staples stores. The U.S. Postal Service plans to expand this “pilot” project to Staples’ 1,500 stores nationwide.

Staples employees, who work for low wages and meager benefits – and who have received minimal training – operate these unsecured postal counters.

Although Staples and the Postal Service have worked hard to keep the details of their arrangement a secret, the APWU recently obtained a heavily-redacted copy of the agreement.  Despite the fact that many of the pages were blacked out, the document provides clear evidence that the Staples sweetheart deal will compromise the quality, security and reliability that consumers expect and deserve in the handling of their mail.

“The American people have a right to know that their mail is handled by highly-trained uniformed postal employees who have taken an oath to protect the sanctity of the mail and who are accountable to the people of the country – whether it’s at the Post Office or an office-supply store,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein.

Research shows that consumers have high regard for postal employees and are skeptical about the Staples deal, according to InfoTrends, which recently completed a report for the USPS Inspector General. Many postal customers, the firm reported, “were uncomfortable with co-location of Post Offices not staffed by USPS employees, such as with the Postal Service’s recent partnership with Staples stores.”

‘I want a real postal employee to handle my mail,’ said one woman from an urban location. ‘It’s like when you go in to a drug store to get a flu shot. You don’t want to get it from a regular Walgreen’s employee.’

An internal USPS document makes clear that the goal of the program is to replace the good, living-wage jobs held by USPS employees with low-wage jobs in the private sector.

“But this isn’t just about postal jobs,” Dimondstein said. “Many people are outraged that a tremendous public asset is being turned over to a struggling private company.”  Staples recently announced that it would close 225 stores by 2015.

“Staples makes business decisions based on the bottom line, not service to the people of the country,” Dimondstein said.

“As a nation, we need to decide what kind of Postal Service we want. Are we going to have a vibrant, modern, public mail system that serves all of the people, or are we going to let privatizers kill this great institution?” The APWU supports expanding postal service – by improving accessibility as well as the variety of services offered, he said.

Today’s National Day of Action follows protests by postal workers and community allies in Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Berkeley and other cities since January.

Many teachers, who regularly buy school supplies at Staples, have joined the APWU in protesting this attempt to privatize postal services. On April 28, the California Federation of Teachers will vote on a resolution asking their members to buy school supplies from other retailers. This will likely be the first of many similar actions by educators to boycott Staples. It’s estimated that 30 percent of Staples revenue comes from back-to-school sales.


 * * * * * *

For more information about the Stop Staples campaign, visit  A copy of the agreement between Staples and the USPS – heavily redacted – is available on the APWU website, at

For additional background information, see these recent stories from the Huffington Post, New Republic and the Associated Press:

# # #

The American Postal Workers Union represents 200,000 employees of the United States Postal Service. The union is affiliated with the AFL-CIO.

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As Part of Coalition, AFT Releases Blueprint for School-Community Partnerships

WASHINGTON— Francine Lawrence, executive vice president of the American Federation of Teachers, today joined a coalition representing school board members, teachers, school support staff, administrators, parents, students and community members to release a blueprint for better-coordinated support and opportunity systems for all children in our public schools.

Partnerships, Not Pushouts: A Guide for School Board Members on Community Partnerships for Student Success” lays the groundwork for policy recommendations, including using community school resource coordinators to facilitate the development of Personal Opportunity Plans for each student. It also outlines how to implement whole-child strategies to ensure all children can succeed.

“Today half of our children in public schools are poor. At the same time, many schools lack the resources to help meet the needs of children who are struggling. The American Federation of Teachers believes in an approach that helps to address the needs of the whole child by collaborating with community partners to focus on academic as well as social, emotional and health needs,” said Lawrence.

“We have already seen how this approach can work in places like Cincinnati, Ohio, and McDowell County, W.Va., where the AFT has been a leading partner in the creation of community schools. Personal Opportunity Plans are another strategy that builds upon this idea that teachers, administrators, school support staff, parents and community partners must all come together to address the individual needs of all children—and create welcoming, supportive, engaging places where all children can succeed.”

“Partnerships, Not Pushouts: A Guide for School Board Members on Community Partnerships for Student Success” was developed by the Advancement Project, the Alliance for Excellent Education, the American Federation of Teachers, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), the Coalition for Community Schools, the National Education Association, the National School Boards Association, Opportunity Action, the Opportunity to Learn Campaign, and the Rural School and Community Trust.

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Congresswoman Annie Kuster Holds Women’s Business Leadership Roundtable in Amherst

Roundtable brought together diverse group of female business leaders for a discussion about how to better support women in the economy, Kuster’s new Women’s Economic Agenda

 (Congresswoman Kuster hears from women business leaders in Amherst)

AMHERST, N.H. – This morning, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) continued her “Women’s Economic Agenda” listening tour with a roundtable discussion about the issues facing professional women. The roundtable, held at the Souhegan Valley Chamber of Commerce in Amherst, N.H., brought together a diverse group of female business leaders who discussed the Congresswoman’s recently released Women’s Economic Agenda and shared their own personal experiences with some of the issues outlined in the agenda, including pay equity, family leave time, and access to capital.

“I was so grateful for the opportunity to hear the personal stories of the women who participated in our business leadership roundtable today,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “Discussing everything from equal pay to college affordability issues, these women underscored the need for Congress to prioritize initiatives that will help level the playing field for New Hampshire women. I’m proud to support these initiatives in my new Women’s Economic Agenda, and I will continue fighting to protect the best interests of Granite State women back in Washington.”

Last week, Kuster released her Women’s Economic Agenda, a plan to help Congress address issues that affect the economic success of Granite State Women. As a member of the United States’ first all-female Congressional delegation, Kuster has worked to create equal opportunities for Granite State women since taking office. She is a cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would increase the effectiveness of remedies available to victims of pay discrimination on the basis of gender, and she has successfully pushed the President to issue executive orders to support fair pay for federally contracted employees.

Participants in today’s roundtable included New Hampshire business leaders and representatives from the Souhegan Valley Chamber, the N.H. Women’s Initiative, the New Hampshire Business Review, and the Women’s Fund, among others. Over the last year, Kuster has hosted a series of similar discussions with women business leaders from around the state to help inform the crafting of her Women’s Economic Agenda. During the two-week April work period, Kuster is continuing to meet with New Hampshire women from a variety of fields throughout the Second District, and she is committed to fighting for their best interests in Congress.

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