U.S. Department of Labor

recycling
Lloyd Gallman / Montgomery Advertiser

Federal labor officials say a recycling center that employs adults with intellectual disabilities in Alabama should have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to its workers.

The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced that employees were rightfully owed $540,000. The agency says that Montgomery Arc and two of its partners – Hanan Center and McInnis Recycling Center – will pay $541,597 in back wages to 80 employees.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Labor says it's fined a construction company approximately $32,000 for not properly protecting against falls at an Alabama work site. Al.com reports the labor department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Montgomery-based contractor Diaz Professional Construction LLC for allowing employees to perform framing activities without fall protection in place.

Keystone Foods Facing $76,000 in Safety Penalties

Sep 7, 2016

A meat processing plant in southeast Alabama has been fined more than $70,000 following an investigation after a worker lost his fingertip in an accident.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration says the Keystone Foods plant in Bakerhill, Alabama, is facing about $76,700 in proposed penalties following an investigation. The agency began looking into the plant after a 65-year-old employee lost the tip of his index finger while cleaning an overhead saw blade in early March.

The Alabama Education Association is taking public school teachers’ insurance provider to court.

The group says the Public Education Employees’ Health Insurance Plan, or PEEHIP, violated Alabama’s open meetings law. Late last month, the PEEHIP board approved massive premium and rate hikes which teachers say will wipe out their first pay increase in nine years. AEA says the rate hikes were decided during a secret board meeting, which violates state law.

Sheila Remington is the President of the AEA and the plaintiff in the lawsuit. She explains her position.

Federal labor officials are suing an international automotive supplier and managers of the company’s plant in Selma. They claim the company retaliated against employees who raised concerns over dangerous working conditions and inadequate benefits.

According to a complaint filed late last week, three employees at Lear Corporation's Renosol Seating plant in Selma complained to federal labor officials two years ago that they'd been exposed to a chemical that caused health problems and were treated unfairly when they were transferred to another facility.

A House committee has approved an education budget that would give most of the state’s teachers a 4% pay raise.

Yesterday, the House Ways and Means Committee unanimously approved a $6.3 billion spending plan for 2017.

The 4% raise would go to teachers making less than $75,000 annually. Others would get a 2% raise.

The budget would also provide funding to hire an additional 475 teachers in 7th through 12th grades.

Budget Chairman Bill Poole of Tuscaloosa says the budget makes the best use of the state's finite resources.

District 80 of the Alabama House has a new representative.

Chris Blackshear won the special election after earning more than 1,650 votes in a special election over challengers James McGill and Tommy Pugh.

The Special Election was held earlier this month after the death Lesley Vance in November of last year.

Blackshear claims the seat due to no democratic candidate challenging him for the position.  He will be sworn in on April 13th in Montgomery.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will be in Alabama today to mark the 60th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Clinton will be speaking at 11 a.m. this morning at the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church in Montgomery. The church was pastored by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. during the boycott.

Clinton’s speech falls on the anniversary of Rosa Parks' arrest for refusing to give her bus seat to a white passenger on December 1, 1955. Her arrest sparked a 381-day boycott of Montgomery buses to protest segregated seating.

Pilgrim's Pride
John Bonzo / Wikimedia

The U.S. Department of Labor has filed multiple lawsuits against chicken processor Pilgrim’s Pride.

According to an AL.com report, the agency is accusing the company of discriminatory hiring practices in Alabama and North Carolina.

A complaint filed last month by the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Compliance Programs accuses Pilgrim’s Pride of systematically discriminating against African-American, Caucasian and female job applicants at its poultry plant in Athens.

A Selma-based auto supplier is continuing its lawsuit against a former employee they fired, after a Montgomery County judge ruled whistleblower protections don’t apply.

Alabama lawmakers are returning to Montgomery today for their third attempt at balancing the state’s general fund budget.

The special session begins at 5 PM this afternoon.

So far, legislators haven’t been able to agree on how to handle a projected funding shortfall of at least $200 million for the upcoming fiscal year.

The newly elected President of the National Association of Counties is visiting Alabama this week.

Complaints about the stalled federal highway bill in Congress are just one topic being voiced by county elected officials. Twenty five percent of Alabama roads are reportedly in need of repair. Sixty percent of those roads run through the counties.

NACO President Sallie Clark says a three-month stopgap spending plan did win approval in Congress. But she says that’s not enough for major road projects.

Southeastern Raptor Center
Southeastern Raptor Center / Facebook

Alabama plans to use a $1.2 million federal grant to expand a program aimed at getting the state’s unemployed back to work.

The Alabama Department of Labor announced the grant in a statement yesterday. Agency officials say money from the U.S. Department of Labor will expand a program that provides one-on-one counseling services to people receiving unemployment benefits.

A federal judge in Alabama recently ruled to leave a temporary restraining order in place against a Hyundai auto supplier after the company was accused of firing an employee during a federal safety investigation.

The ruling is a continuation of an order requested by the U.S. Labor Department after Lear Corp. fired former employee Kimberly King for making public allegations about exposure to hazardous chemicals in the plant.

King and several other employees had developed asthma and other breathing problems after working in the plant.

Selma-based Hyundai supplier Lear Corporation is disputing allegations that it fired a whistleblower in a federal safety investigation.

Lear said on Friday that allegations of employees being exposed to the hazardous chemical TDI are false. The company says the air in the plant has been tested by multiple independent parties.

However, NBC recently reported that a Yale University medical clinic tested blood samples from nearly twenty workers, and five showed exposure to the chemical.

A federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order against a company accused of retaliating against whistleblowing workers in Selma.

Workers in a Selma automotive parts plant have complained about conditions in the plant and were involved in a federal investigation.

An order filed by the U.S. Department of Labor Wednesday in U.S. District Court Wednesday blocks the Lear Corporation and Renosol Seating from terminating, suspending, suing, threatening or retaliating against current or former employees.

Federal job search assistance for Decatur workers

Mar 29, 2015

Federal grant money will be awarded to help former employees of Decatur's International Paper find new jobs.

The U.S. Department of Labor will be awarding nearly $825,000 in National Emergency Grant funding to help in the job search. A news release from the agency said the money would be used to "boost assistance at Alabama Career Center offices in Sheffield and Decatur to help the former mill employees secure new jobs".

International Paper employed 1,100 workers in the Decatur area. The plant closed earlier this year.

Shelton State Community College

Alabama's Labor Department has agreed to work with the U.S. Department of Labor to crack down on businesses that classify people as independent contractors when they are really regular employees.

Alabama Labor Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington and the U.S. Department of Labor's regional director for the wage and hour division, Wayne Kotowski, signed a memorandum of understanding Thursday in Montgomery. Kotowski said Alabama is the 16th state to sign an agreement to share information and coordinate enforcement.

Hanna Steel Corporation

Federal officials have issued safety citations to a steel manufacturing company and propose that it pay over $117,000 in fines.

U.S. Department of Labor officials said Wednesday that 15 safety violations were issued to the Northport-based Hanna Steel Corp.

Officials say the company was inspected in February and investigators found two repeat violations, nine serious safety violations and four other violations.