Friday, April 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Archive: July, 2013

POSTED: Thursday, August 1, 2013, 3:05 AM
National Labor Relations Board

Morgan Lewis, the national law firm with Philadelphia roots, scored a trifecta this week, landing its third lawyer onto the National Labor Relations Board. All three have generally represented management.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate approved Philip Miscimarra's nomination to the NLRB. Miscimarra, who works at the firm's Chicago office, graduated from two colleges at the University of Pennsylvania. He earned an MBA from Wharton and a law degree from Penn's law school. He is a senior fellow at Wharton. Miscimarra's history includes representing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in litigation opposing changes in NLRB rules that would have benefited unions in union elections.

The other two Morgan Lewis lawyers to serve on the NLRB were Charles Cohen, appointed by President William Clinton, for a term that lasted from 1994 to 1996, and Peter Hurtgen, appointed by Clinton as a member from 1997 to 1999. Hurtgen was then appointed by President George W. Bush as chairman, serving from 2000 to 2002. Hurtgen retired from Morgan's office in in Irvine, California. Cohen still serves as senior counsel in the firm's Washington office.

POSTED: Monday, July 29, 2013, 4:10 AM
An empty jury box. (AP file photo)

New Jersey's statewide jury manager Michael Garrahan gets a lot of advice on how New Jersey should fill its juries. Use unemployed people, his advisers say. They have the time. Maybe the $5 a day they earn has some appeal.

I met Garrahan on Thursday at a "Law School for Journalists" workshop sponsored by the New Jersey Court system's department of public affairs. When it was my turn to ask a question, I wondered how the recession had affected jury selection. Was it easier to fill juries when there were so many people who were unemployed?

"It's a trade off," Garrahan answered. On the one hand, unemployed citizens are available, he said.

POSTED: Thursday, July 25, 2013, 4:10 AM

A salute the state of Maryland for enacting a law that will really make a difference to a group of employees who  deserve consideration, and thanks.

Effective October 1, immediate family members (spouse, parents, stepparents, siblings, children, stepchildren) can have one day unpaid leave on the day their relative leaves or returns from active military duty outside the United States.

The law applies to companies with more than 50 employees and to workers who have spent 1,250 hours on the job in the prior 12 months. More states should adopt this law and make the requirements less stringent. I'm sure that many companies would do this anyway. Employers can not require employees to use paid time off for this purpose, however, they can ask for documentation. 

POSTED: Wednesday, July 24, 2013, 4:05 AM

The National Urban League conference opens in Philadelphia Wednesday with the theme "Redeem the Dream: Jobs Rebuild America." Absolutely. The job situation is improving, but not fast enough.

The conference begins Wednesday, but the focus on jobs strengthens on Thursday with workshops in the morning and a career and network fair that begins at 11 a.m. The job fair continues on Friday. On Saturday, the focus skews younger with workshops for college-bound youngsters. There is also a day long seminar for entrepreneurs on Saturday. For information, click here and to register, click here.

POSTED: Tuesday, July 23, 2013, 4:50 AM
National Labor Relations Board

Today, Tuesday, the U.S. Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee will interview two candidates for openings on the National Labor Relations Board. On Wednesday, the committee is set to vote on them, and will likely recommend them for a confirmation vote in the Senate.

If Kent Yoshiho Hirozawa and Nancy Jean Schiffer win the committee's approval, they will join three other nominees, current NLRB Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce, attorney Harry I. Johnson, III, and attorney Philip A. Miscimarra for consideration by the full Senate. A vote could come as early as this week, part of the deal struck by leaders to avoid the "nuclear option" end of the filibuster.

If it does, it will be the first time in years that the National Labor Relations Board has a full panel.

POSTED: Thursday, July 18, 2013, 3:05 AM

Don't know if this is really true, but someone told me that kids growing up in farm country tip over cows when they are being vandals. So naturally when a workplace book titled "Tipping Sacred Cows" crossed my desk a few months ago, I had to save it for a rainy day read (even though it's sunny now). So what are these sacred cows being tipped?

According to author Jake Breeden (and can you believe the man's last name, given the subject???), the sacred cows are bad work habits that masquerade as virtues. Now I'm going to switch tone here and become udderly serious. I mean utterly serious.

In the book, subtitled "Kick the Bad Work Habits that Masquerade as Virtues," Breeden lists seven "sacred cows," which he says should be tipped over and examined. 

POSTED: Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 3:30 AM

Storm cleanup and recovery is not an emergency, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Health and Safety Administration reminds employers, after last Wednesday's collapse of a house being repaired after Hurricane Sandy.

Three workers were injured at the house in Little Egg Harbor Township in Ocean County and OSHA is now trying to figure out why it happened. In the interim, the department has issued a reminder to employers that it is their obligation to create a safe work space. These days, that includes measures to help workers cope with the heat.

Here is a list of the top 10 Sandy-related violations that inspectors in New Jersey have seen since October 2012:

  1. Fall Protection (29CFR 1926.501), duty to have fall protection
  2. Training requirements (29CFR 1926.503), exposure to falls
  3. General Safety and Health Provisions (29CFR 1926.20)
  4. Scaffolding (29CFR 1926.451), general requirements
  5. General Duty Clause (5a1), MUTCD (traffic safety), struck by hazards during tree cutting
  6. Hazard Communication (29CFR 1910.1200)
  7. Training requirements (29CFR 1926.454), hazards of work on scaffolds
  8. Head Protection (29CFR 1926.100)
  9. Excavations (29CFR 1926.651)
  10. Ladders (29CFR 1926.1053),general requirements
POSTED: Tuesday, July 16, 2013, 4:50 AM

Let's start with the problem: "Thousands of workers ...die each year on the job from preventable hazards," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "Many of those killed and injured are temporary workers who often perform the most dangerous jobs have limited English proficiency and are not receiving the training and protective measures required."

That was a quote from an April announcement heralding a new U.S. Department of Labor initiative run through the Occupational Health and Safety Administration. OSHA said it launched the initiative on worker safety after noticing reports of fatalities among temp workers, often during their first days on the job.

On Thursday at 3 p.m., the American Staffing Association and OSHA will moderate a free webinar titled "Playing it Safe – Workplace Safety Obligations of Staffing Firms and Their Clients." Topics include OSHA regulations regarding temporary workers, legal obligations of staffing companies and their clients for safety and how to maintain open communication about safety issues on the job site.

About this blog

Jobbing covers the workplace – employment, unemployment, management, unions, legal issues, labor economics, benefits, work-life balance, workforce development, trends and profiles.

Jane M. Von Bergen writes about workplace issues for the Inquirer.

Married to a photographer she met at her college newspaper, Von Bergen has been a reporter since fourth grade, covering education, government, retailing, courts, marketing and business. “I love the specific detail that tells the story,” she says.

Reach Jane M. at

Jane M. Von Bergen Inquirer Staff Writer