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Labor Notes


1. An underfunded and industry-dominated OSHA can’t properly investigate workers’ death. This fantastic Jim Morris investigation of how OSHA did nothing when a worker at U.S. Steel died on the job, even though the investigator threw himself into the case, shows the agency pressuring its overworked investigators to forget about doing their jobs properly and just complete a bunch of cases really fast to get the numbers up. Arguably the best reporting I’ve read this month.

2. The other amazing thing I’ve been reading is Patrick Winn’s investigation of working conditions in the southeast Asian fishing trade. Not only are you driving species to extinction by eating seafood, but you may also be eating fish harvested by slave labor. Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. The almost total lack of regulation of fishing in many countries leads to both overharvesting and terrible labor conditions. The two cannot be separated.

3. Car wash workers in Los Angeles are suing their employer for his refusal to pay overtime or give breaks. Car wash workers are particularly open to exploitation, often being immigrants and operating in an industry that most Americans see as a kind of nostalgic pleasure, thus making it easy to forget about the people actually doing the work.

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