Labor Department Orders Massachusettes Sweat Shop to Pay Back Wages
Dirty air. Trump signed an executive order Tuesday to undo most of former President Barack Obama’s effort to prevent the worst of global warming—which Trump doesn’t believe in. The order tells the Environmental Protection Agency to rewrite the Clean Power Plan and lifts a short-term ban on new coal mining on public lands. It does not say whether the United States should stay in the Paris Agreement which addresses climate change.
Sweat shop. Trump’s agency charged with ensuring that workers are fairly paid has finally broken its silence since Trump took office, issuing the first enforcement news release since Jan. 18. The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor announced that 327 workers at Unwrapped Inc., a sewing factory in Lowell, Mass., will receive $890,021 in back wages and damages. The company will pay $293,170 in a separate settlement with the
Massachusetts attorney general’s office. Trump has sometimes stiffed his own workers. Trump’s gaudy, self-named tower on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue was built after undocumented and sporadically paid Polish workers tore down the landmark Bonwit Teller building. Some of those workers didn’t have basic safety equipment like hard hats.
Worker safety. OSHA, the part of Trump’s Labor Department that’s supposed to make sure workers are safe, hasn’t issued any enforcement news releases since Trump took office. OSHA did say that it is again stalling a regulation crafted under former President Barack Obama that would protect workers from beryllium, a toxic metal that can cause a fatal lung disease.
Family ties. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has a new job assignment in addition to working for peace in the Middle East and scoring a great rental house: figuring how to overhaul federal bureaucracy. James Fallows points
out that Kushner’s resume, at age 36, could be considered a bit skimpy for such assignments. Former President Bill Clinton by that age was governor of Arkansas. Former President Barack Obama was elected to the Illinois state senate and had been president of the Harvard Law Review. Kushner also attended Harvard after his father pledged $2.5 million.
Mar-a-Lago. The Government Accountability Office will review how classified information is kept secure at Trump’s Florida resort. The government watchdog will also look at expenses of government employees who accompany Trump to the resort.