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Working In These Times

Saturday, Jul 23, 2011, 8:00 am

This Week in Labor: OSHA’s List of Shame, and Big Three/UAW Talks Set to Start in Detroit

BY Lindsay Beyerstein

At the end of each week, Working In These Times rounds up labor newswe've missed during the past week, with a focus on new and ongoing campaigns and protests. For all our other headlines from this week, go here.

—Blue collar workers are more likely to work past age 65 than their white collar counterparts, according to a study published online this week in the American Journal of Public Health. The burden of arthritis, a chronic disease assiociated with aging, falls disproportionately along class lines, according to the study. "We found that blue-collar workers with arthritis are in much worse health than are all other workers, suggesting that they are struggling to stay in the workforce despite their health condition," the study's lead author, Alberto J. Caban-Martinez explained.

—This week, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration released the names of 147 "severe violators" of occupational health and safety laws. The Severe Violators Enforcement Program (SVEP) is a special hall of shame for "recalcitrant employers who endanger workers by demonstrating indifference to their responsibilities under the law," according to OSHA guidelines. Kraft Foods Global, Tyson Foods, Sea World and Lucas Oil Production Studio are on the list.

Four of the employers on the latest list received a willful violation related to a worker death in 2010.

—The United Autoworkers (UAW) and American car makers are gearing up for talks in Detroit next week. Their task is to divvy up the unexpectedly healthy profits stemming from the recovery of the U.S. car industry. Going into the talks, the UAW is hoping to regain some of the jobs lost during the dark days of the industry, reopen some shuttered factories, and increase pay for its members.

Lindsay Beyerstein is an award-winning investigative journalist and In These Times staff writer who writes the blog Duly Noted. Her stories have appeared in Newsweek, Salon, Slate, The Nation, Ms. Magazine, and other publications. Her photographs have been published in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times' City Room. She also blogs at The Hillman Blog (http://www.hillmanfoundation.org/hillmanblog), a publication of the Sidney Hillman Foundation, a non-profit that honors journalism in the public interest.

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