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One Year After 15 Died in Preventable Texas Fertilizer Blast, Safety Rules Stalled

 

When the West, Texas, fertilizer plant, where 30 tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate—stored in wooden sheds without sprinkler systems and near other combustible material—caught fire, exploded and killed 15 people, including 10 emergency responders, the state of Texas had virtually no regulations governing ammonium nitrate and other hazardous chemicals. A year later, it still doesn’t.

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Here’s What We’re Reading: Tuesday News Roundup

Here are some headlines from the working families’ news we're reading today (after the jump).

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Senate OKs Jobless Benefits Renewal, Tell the House to Do the Same

Senate OKs Jobless Benefits Renewal, Tell the House to Do the Same

More than three months after House Republican leaders allowed the Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits program to expire, nearly 2.8 million jobless workers have lost their economic lifeline. Monday, the U.S. Senate gave those workers a ray of hope when it passed (59-38) a bill reviving the program for long-term jobless workers. Now it is up to the House to keep that hope alive.

Call your House members today at 845-809-4509 and urge them to pass the emergency unemployment benefits extension now.  

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4 Frightening Facts About the Influence of the Other NRA (the National Restaurant Association)

4 Frightening Facts About the Influence of the Other NRA (the National Restaurant Association)

What would America's politics be without the outsized influence from the NRA? In this case, however, we're talking about the National Restaurant Association, which uses an army of lobbyists to fight against the rights of working families who do all the work that makes them their profits. The industry that brings in $600 billion a year in revenue is a leader in fighting against raising the minimum wage and increasing wages for tipped workers, paid sick days and food safety rules.

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Equal Pay Day: Bridging the Pay Gap Takes 3 Extra Months of Work

Photo via Women Employed/Twitter.

Women have to work more than three extra months to earn what men earn in a year because, on average, they make 77 cents on the dollar compared to men’s earnings. Today, Equal Pay Day, marks the day women workers close the 2013 pay gap.  

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Obama to Sign Order Strengthening Equal Pay Rules

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and Lilly Ledbetter

In a move to boost wage equality and help close the wage gap between men and women (about 23 cents on the dollar), President Barack Obama will issue an executive order tomorrow that will apply some provisions of the Paycheck Fairness Act to federal contractors. The order, according to news reports, will be signed at a White House ceremony marking Equal Pay Day, which signifies how far a woman must work into 2014 to earn the same as a man did in 2013 alone.

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The Supremes Flirt with Oligarchy: Winners and Losers of the Week

In our regular weekly feature, we'll be taking a look at the winners and losers of the week in the struggle for the rights of working families. The winners will be the people or organizations that go above and beyond to expand or protect the rights of working families, while the losers will be whoever went above and beyond to limit or deny those rights.

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Make the Colombia Labor Rights Action Plan Work for Workers

Three years ago today, when the governments of Colombia and the United States signed the Labor Action Plan (LAP), Colombian workers hoped that systemic violence against labor activists and persistent employer abuses would at last come to an end. As Miguel Conde of the union SINTRAINAGRO explains in a new report by the AFL-CIO, palm workers at the Bucarelia plantation initially were hopeful, but the LAP profoundly failed to deliver meaningful change in their lives.

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Here’s What We’re Reading: Monday News Roundup

Here’s What We’re Reading: Monday News Roundup

Here are some headlines from the working families’ news we're reading today (after the jump).

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California Truckers Will Be Paid $2.2 Million in Misclassification Case

Photo courtesy Californiagal22 on Flickr

Think Progress reports that Pacer Cartage, a California logistics company, is being ordered to pay more than $2.2 million in back pay to short-haul truck drivers it illegally misclassified as independent contractors. The California Labor Commissioner's Division of Labor Standards Enforcement says that the company knew or should have known that the drivers were employees and not contractors and Pacer is required to pay restitution, attorney's fees and interest.

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Another Right-Wing Talking Point Falls: Americans Work Hard Even on Vacation

Photo courtesy Ziv Turner on Flickr

If you listen to extreme right-wing business types, you'd think that America's workers shouldn't be given paid vacation days, or any form of paid leave for that matter, because those workers will only abuse the days off and it'll hurt their employers' ability to even survive as a business. This opposition to paid leave has led to the United States being the only one of the world's 21 richest countries without mandated paid vacation days for all workers. According to a new survey from Glassdoor, however, America's workers are not only not abusing paid vacation days, or even using all of the ones they have, most people in America work during their paid vacations.

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