US Department of Labor’s Office of the Solicitor welcomes applications from graduating law students, recent graduates to join Honors Program

Source: US Department of Labor

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of the Solicitor invites outstanding recent law school graduates with a passion for public service to apply for its two-year Honors Program and earn unique experience in one of the federal government’s preeminent legal offices.

The Office of the Solicitor includes approximately 550 attorneys who enforce and interpret labor standards and laws governing occupational and mine safety and health, civil rights, pension and health benefits, and other labor-related issues. Honors Program attorneys work either at the department’s Washington, D.C. national headquarters or in one of its regional offices. Upon program completion, Honors Program attorneys may continue their careers in one of the solicitor’s national or regional offices.

In fall 2022, the department plans to hire approximately 12 attorneys to begin the Honors Program. To be eligible, applicants must graduate from law school in spring or summer of 2021 or finish a fellowship or judicial clerkship in time to start the Honors Program in September 2022. Selection is highly competitive; academic achievement, writing skills, law review or moot court experience, clinic or extracurricular activities, and demonstrated interest in government service or public interest law will be factors in the selection process. 

Apply to join the Honors Program in the Office of the Solicitor of Labor on USAJOBS.gov. Applications must be received by 11:59 p.m. EDT on Sept. 13, 2021.

US Department of Labor cites Marietta manufacturer for exposing workers willfully to preventable fall hazards that led to employee’s death

Source: US Department of Labor

MARIETTA, GA – A federal safety and health investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration concluded that a Marietta manufacturer allowed a forklift operator to work on elevated storage racks without fall protection, resulting in the employee’s death.

On Feb. 13, the 55-year-old worker fell 15 feet onto a concrete floor while attempting to move cabinets from metal storage racks onto his forklift’s pallet. The cabinets also fell, landing on top of him. Co-workers called for help after finding the worker beneath the cabinets. Taken to a nearby hospital, the worker died the next day.

OSHA determined that FBS Manufacturing Corp. – operating as Kitchen & Bath Solutions – willfully failed to ensure that employees used fall protection as required. In addition to the willful violation, OSHA cited the employer with five serious violations for exposing workers to the following hazards:

Damaged exit signs; and routes with inadequate lighting.
Failure to train employees on operating powered industrial trucks safely and not inspecting or removing faulty forklifts from service.
Electrical shock from uncovered outlets and use of damaged extension cords without ground pins.

OSHA proposed $167,933 in penalties for citations.

“FBS Manufacturing Corp.’s failure to implement legally required safety procedures led to tragedy for a worker and his family,” said OSHA Area Office Director Jeffery Stawowy in Atlanta-West. “The fact that this incident was preventable only deepens their loss. This case should remind all employers that prioritizing production or profits over safety is never an acceptable choice.”

FBS Manufacturing Corp. produces reconstituted wood products and imports and wholesales cabinets.

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.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s workers by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

Learn more about OSHA.

US Department of Labor awards $22M in grants for training, employment services to workers displaced by pandemic’s impacts

Source: US Department of Labor

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the award of the first $22 million of a total of $90 million in funding to help nine organizations provide training and employment services for job seekers in historically marginalized communities as the economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic’s impacts.

The department’s Employment and Training Administration awarded Comprehensive and Accessible Reemployment through Equitable Employment Recovery National Dislocated Worker Grants ranging from $890,000 to $3 million. The funding is part of $90 million in available funds announced on Aug. 19.

CAREER National Dislocated Worker Grants will support organizations serving individuals affected disproportionately by pandemic-driven layoffs, including people of color, Native Americans, individuals with disabilities, veterans and lower-income workers. The grants fund virtual employment services, employment retraining, English-language learning, peer coaches, career advising, child care and transportation costs.

This funding opportunity closes Aug. 31, 2021, and eligible organizations are encouraged to apply for the remaining $68 million in funding.

Supported by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, National Dislocated Worker Grants offer resources that provide flexibility to states and communities in response to and recovery from events that cause widespread unemployment.

 

Recipients

City

State

Amount

Cook Inlet Tribal Council Inc.

Anchorage

AK

$2,927,293

Richmond Workforce Development Board

Richmond

CA

$893,164

Able-Disabled Advocacy Inc.

San Diego

CA

$1,509,551

NOVA Workforce Development Board: City of Sunnyvale

Sunnyvale

CA

$3,000,000

Metro Community Ministries Inc.

College Park

GA

$3,000,000

Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

Springfield

IL

$3,000,000

Capital Area Workforce Development Board

Raleigh

NC

$1,927,284

Cherokee Nation

Tahlequah

OK

$2,996,534

Upper Savannah Council of Governments

Greenwood

SC

$2,836,669

Learn more about eligibility requirements for the CAREER National Dislocated Worker Grants.

 

US Department of Labor finds Tinton Falls transitional housing facility exposed workers to coronavirus hazards; 11 workers test positive

Source: US Department of Labor

TINTON FALLS, NJ – A federal workplace safety and health investigation found numerous violations at a Tinton Falls transitional housing facility where 11 employees and 28 residents tested positive for the coronavirus by late March.

In response to a complaint, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration discovered that while Seaside Guest Services’ continuity of operations plan required that residents with coronavirus be isolated and workers notified, neither happened. Additionally, OSHA inspectors determined the facility provided protective masks to its employees, but did not enforce their use. Seaside also failed to enforce social distancing despite posting signs in its four housing units.

OSHA cited the facility’s operator, AMA Health Holdings LLC, with two citations for failing to develop and implement effective measures to mitigate the spread of the virus and not recording each work-related illness. The agency proposed $10,923 in penalties.

“Seaside Guest Services’ failure to isolate workers from infected residents, and enforce its own mask and social distancing policies is difficult to comprehend,” said OSHA Area Director Paula Dixon-Roderick in Marlton. “Their neglect exposed workers and others to the coronavirus, and raised the possibility that 11 workers were infected as a result.”

Seaside Guest Services provides transitional housing for people attending area behavioral-health programs and those who have completed some level of addiction treatment.

Read more about feasible and acceptable means of abatement for this hazard.

The employer 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.

OSHA issued an emergency temporary standard in June to protect healthcare workers from contracting coronavirus. In March, OSHA launched a national emphasis program focusing enforcement efforts on companies that put the largest number of workers at serious risk of contracting the coronavirus. The program also prioritizes employers who retaliate against workers for complaints about unsafe or unhealthy conditions, or for exercising other rights protected by federal law.

 View OSHA’s COVID-19 information and resources.

 

NSF selects Alicia J. Knoedler to lead its Office of Integrative Activities

Source: US Government research organizations

News Release 21-013

NSF selects Alicia J. Knoedler to lead its Office of Integrative Activities

Alicia J. Knoedler to lead the Office of Integrative Activities.

August 25, 2021

The U.S. National Science Foundation has selected Alicia J. Knoedler to lead its Office of Integrative Activities. Prior to her NSF appointment, Knoedler led efforts in strategic growth of research activities and oversaw the management of research operations as the vice president of Research and Innovation at Miami University in Ohio.

Knoedler has also served as the executive associate vice president for research, and executive director of the Center for Research Program Development and Enrichment at the University of Oklahoma. In these roles, she specialized in working with others across the university on projects and initiatives of significant importance to OU, such as broadening participation of underrepresented groups, faculty recruitment, mentoring and retention, and resource gap analyses related to research. Knoedler also served as the director of Team Innovation at Exaptive, Inc. in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

“Alicia Knoedler’s intellect, expertise and experience in expanding the culture of research and innovation through interdisciplinary work are exactly what we need as we advance this agency into the future,” said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. “Her leadership in the advancement of research excellence and innovation as well as the development of human and infrastructure capacity make her an excellent choice to lead NSF’s Office of Integrative Activities.” 

Knoedler has taught quantitative research methodology, statistics and grant writing at Purdue University, San Jose State University, the University of California Santa Cruz, Indiana University, the University of Notre Dame, Penn State University, and the University of Oklahoma. She is also a founding and former member of the board of directors of the National Organization of Research Development Professionals and served as president from 2013 to 2014. Knoedler is vice-chair of NSF’s Advisory Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering and is a member of NSF’s Business and Operations Advisory Committee.

“This is an exciting time to be leading NSF’s Office of Integrative Activities, and I’m thrilled to work with such a talented and dedicated group of people,” said Knoedler.

Knoedler received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and a master’s degree and doctorate in cognitive psychology from Purdue University.

Knoedler’s appointment begins today.

-NSF-

Media Contacts
Media Affairs, NSF, (703) 292-7090, email: media@nsf.gov

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2021 budget of $8.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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Chair Gensler Announces Addition of Barbara Roper to Senior Staff

Source: Securities and Exchange Commission

Washington D.C., Aug. 25, 2021 —

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced the appointment of Barbara Roper as Senior Advisor to the Chair. Ms. Roper’s focus will be on issues relating to retail investor protection, including matters relating to policy, broker-dealer oversight, investment adviser oversight, and examinations. She is currently the Director of Investor Protection for the Consumer Federation of America (CFA).

“Barb is a champion for investors and will provide invaluable counsel on behalf of the American public,” Chair Gary Gensler said. “I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with her on the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the critical market reforms of the Dodd-Frank Act, and I’m thrilled to collaborate with her again at the SEC.”

“I’m excited to join the SEC and Chair Gensler’s leadership team,” Ms. Roper said. “I’ve dedicated my career to ensuring that our capital markets work for the average investor. With investor protection at the core of the SEC’s mission, I’m looking forward to bringing that same focus on the needs of individual investors to my work for the SEC.”

Ms. Roper has worked at the CFA for 35 years and has been a leading consumer spokesperson on investor protection issues, particularly the standards that apply to investment professionals investors rely on for advice and recommendations. She has conducted studies of the financial planning industry, state oversight of investment advisers, and state and federal financial planning regulation. She has also conducted studies on the need for audit reform in the wake of the Enron scandal, the need for mutual fund reform in the wake of trading and sales abuse scandals, the information preferences of mutual fund shareholders, the potential of the Internet to improve disclosure, and securities law weaknesses as a cause of the financial crisis. She has served on numerous advisory committees at the SEC, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and other entities. She is a graduate of Princeton University with a degree in art history.

VA expands rental support, increasing housing options for Veterans

Source: US Department of Veterans Affairs

he Department of Veterans Affairs has expanded the Shallow Subsidy initiative and will grant $200 million to 238 nonprofit organizations across the country and territories to provide housing rental assistance to extremely and very low-income Veteran households eligible under VA’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families program.

EPA Announces $25 Million in Grants to Improve Drinking Water Quality for Underserved, Small, and Disadvantaged Communities

Source: US Environment Protection Agency

WASHINGTON  – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of $25 million in Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act grants to help improve drinking water. EPA is committed to ensuring that all Americans, especially those living in small towns and underserved communities, have safe water to drink and clean water to support recreation and economic development.

“Safe drinking water is fundamental to building thriving communities and we are excited by the drinking water improvements that these funds will support across the country. When we invest in water resources, we create good-paying jobs and build a better, safer future for all,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “We are also excited by future program improvements envisioned by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, including increased funding and the removal of barriers to better support low-income communities.”

For the current funding cycle, states, Tribes, and territories are eligible to receive funding under EPA’s Small Underserved and Disadvantaged Communities (SUDC) Grant Program. Through the program, EPA will award grants to support compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act and provide access to drinking water services. Funding can also be used for conducting household water quality testing, including testing for unregulated contaminants. State and territorial grant allotments for the grant program are available on EPA’s website. States can submit applications for funding at www.grants.gov until June 30, 2022.

EPA intends to release another memo in the fall to provide allotments to support activities in American Indian and Alaska Native Communities.

Today’s announcement also illustrates the benefits of investing in water—protecting public health and the environment, addressing key challenges facing communities, and creating jobs.  The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal would build on successful programs like the WIIN Act’s Small Underserved and Disadvantaged Communities Grant Program to bring more benefits to communities across the country

For more information, visit:  https://www.epa.gov/safewater/grants.

Background

The 2016 Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN Act) addresses, supports, and improves America’s drinking water infrastructure.  Included in the WIIN Act are three new drinking water grants that promote public health and the protection of the environment. Section 2104 of the WIIN Act establishes the “Assistance for Small and Disadvantaged Communities” grant to “establish a program under which grants are provided to eligible entities for use in carrying out projects and activities the primary purposes of which are to assist public water systems in meeting the requirements of this title.”

EPA Orders Companies to Comply with Clean Water Act at Construction Project in Rincón, Puerto Rico

Source: US Environment Protection Agency

NEW YORK – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it has taken an enforcement action against two companies, Aurora’s Dream LLC and Bellagio LLC, for stormwater discharge violations of regulations and a permit that serve to reduce pollution from construction runoff.

“It is imperative that developers get stormwater permit coverage for construction projects and implement erosion and sediment controls to protect communities’ clean water and associated ecosystems,” said EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator Walter Mugdan. “Building without the proper permits and appropriate erosion controls is a violation of the Federal Clean Water Act. EPA is committed to working with developers and contractors so that they can be good stewards for the benefit of the local communities they serve and for Puerto Rico’s coastal waters.”

In the administrative compliance order, EPA determined that Aurora’s Dream LLC violated the Clean Water Act for failing to apply for a National Pollutant Elimination Discharge System (NPDES) Permit for discharges of stormwater from construction activities. EPA also found that Bellagio LLC violated requirements of the NPDES Construction General Permit. The companies also altered existing vegetation and excavated site soil without the required implementation of erosion-control best management practices.

The EPA order requires Bellagio LLC to apply for an NPDES permit and both companies to take corrective actions to address stormwater runoff at Finca de Sueño Aurora residential development. The actions include staff training, implementation of erosion and sediment controls, and joint submittals of progress reports every two (2) weeks describing the status and progress of actions taken to comply with the provisions laid out in the order.

Polluted stormwater runoff presents a serious threat to Caribbean coastal waters, including the Rincón Tres Palmas Marine Reserve. EPA works with construction site owners and operators to make sure they have the proper stormwater controls in place so that construction can continue in a way that protects the surrounding environment. Under the CWA, construction activities that disturb one or more acres of land in proximity to protected water bodies must obtain stormwater construction permits and follow the requirements outlined in those permits to reduce pollution runoff. Failure to obtain an NPDES permit or to follow the requirements of an NPDES permit may result in violations of the CWA that can be subject to fines.

More information about EPA’s NPDES permits is available at: https://www.epa.gov/npdes.

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at http://twitter.com/eparegion2 and visit our Facebook page, http://facebook.com/eparegion2

21-053              

Local 1189-Guelph, ON reaches strong tentative agreement

Source: US Amalgamated Transit Union
NEWS RELEASE
AMALGAMATED TRANSIT UNION LOCAL 1189
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The Amalgamated Transit Union local 1189, which represents transit workers at Guelph Transit, is proud to announce a tentative agreement with the City of Guelph. The negotiations were led by President Scott Bate who shared the following comments on the tentative agreement.

“This deal was reached due to the groundswell of member support we had in building our list of proposals,” said Bate. “A strong majority of transit workers participated in the construction of our union bargaining proposals. We also had intensive bargaining preparations. We are also proud to say we achieved the current tentative agreement in just eight bargaining sessions. Our team was extremely focused and worked efficiently.”

The union leadership feels confident about this collective agreement because it addresses the dire need for better work-life balance for employees and their families.

“Our extensive transit worker consultation process made crystal clear at the same work-life balance issues faced by many Canadians was being felt by Guelph Transit workers too. Through their union and the collective bargaining process, we feel that we have worked together as one force to win adequate work-life balance for workers while delivering great service to our passengers and clients,” added Bate.

The leaders of ATU local 1189 are working on securing a venue to hold a democratic ratification vote, meaning the workers will vote to accept or reject the amendments to their union contract. A ratification vote is required by the Ontario Labour Relations Act.

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