jobs

Obama To Expand Overtime Pay For Millions

Jun 30, 2015

President Obama announced this week that the Labor Department will expand overtime pay, in a move the administration estimates would impact 5 million U.S. workers. That would double the income threshold at which employers can avoid paying overtime.

Right now, only salaried employees earning less $23,660 a year are eligible for overtime. This rule would raise that threshold so that employees making up to $50,660 a year would get paid overtime.

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Connecticut could see its job growth actually decline this year and next, according to a dire new forecast from UConn’s Center for Economic Analysis.

A 4 / Creative Commons

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. says it will expand its presence in research centers in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and San Francisco, while cutting jobs in Connecticut.

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If the State of Connecticut was a college student, it would be the one who crams for every exam and writes every final paper the night before. We say this, because the fiscal year starts on July 1, and a special session to finish the details of the state budget is reportedly scheduled for the last two days of June.

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Connecticut added 6,400 jobs in May, and the state’s unemployment rate fell to six percent. The figures mean so far in 2015, the state is showing its strongest performance since the post-recession recovery began. That’s despite the fact that the department also revised April’s figures from a 1,200 job gain to a 600 job loss. 

Hartford Healthcare

Hartford Healthcare will lay off hundreds of staff, saying the cuts are necessary because of reduced reimbursement for Medicaid patients. 

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Two big Connecticut corporations threatened to leave the state after a budget deal was reached before the end of the regular session. But were they empty threats? Governor Dannel Malloy didn't want to take any chances and announced last week a reduction in business tax hikes. This hour, our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse continues the budget drama, and other legislation that may be taken up during a special session. One of those, Malloy's "Second Chance Society" proposals were touted by the governor in Germany this week.

Homeowners interested in switching to solar energy will soon have the option to do so with no upfront costs. The nation’s largest rooftop solar installer is coming to Rhode Island. Starting this week, California-based SolarCity will offer Rhode Islanders loans to buy home solar systems.

Baystate Health, the largest employer in western Massachusetts, has announced a round of job cuts.

Twenty-four employees are being laid off, hours cut for 17 workers, and 45 vacant positions will go unfilled.  Baystate spokesman Ben Craft said the cuts are across the board and almost all at the flagship hospital in Springfield.

"Largely support and administrative positions in both the clinical and business areas of Baystate Health. There are  no physicians or bedside nurses affected. Ten management positions are included," he said.

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Sikorsky has announced it will close its Bridgeport plant, and consolidate all of its Connecticut operations in Stratford. One hundred eighty people will lose their jobs in the state, as the helicopter maker lays off 1,400 people worldwide -- just less than ten percent of its workforce.

Electric Boat

A workforce training effort in Eastern Connecticut could contain lessons for the rest of the nation, but the state’s congressional delegation said money will be the roadblock.

The economy may be struggling in Eastern Connecticut with the decline of the casinos, but submarine maker Electric Boat provides a bright spot — the company expects to hire 2,000 people this year alone in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

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Does firefighting cause cancer? That's a question at the heart of a bill at the state legislature that would make it easier for firefighters who have certain cancers to get workers comp benefits. 

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According to a 2014 report, more than 300,000 Connecticut households struggle to pay their energy bills. In fact, the average low-income household owes rougly $2,560 more in annual energy bills than it can actually afford.

Wage theft is rampant in the booming residential construction industry in Massachusetts, according to research from UMass Amherst.

     It has become standard practice in the home building industry in Massachusetts for subcontractors to illegally misclassify workers -- particularly immigrants — as independent contractors. The workers sometimes go weeks without pay, get no compensation for overtime, and are often paid less than they were promised. 

   Tom Juravich, a Umass Amherst labor professor detailed the abuses in a new paper.

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A Connecticut legislative committee has approved a legal settlement that would end a long-running federal court battle over former Governor John Rowland's decision to lay off 2,800 unionized state employees about 12 years ago. 

Click the above link to hear Joel Rose's Morning Edition report.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is casting his eye beyond the Big Apple — and is trying to cement his legacy as a progressive champion that could help boost his political future.

Updated at 9:55 a.m. ET

The U.S. economy added 223,000 jobs in April, hewing close to expectations from economists, but the numbers fell short of a threshold that forecasters believe would signal an early rise in interest rates.

The unemployment rate dipped to 5.4 percent, according to data released by the U.S. Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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The state legislature has approved a bill aiming to protect the online privacy of employees and job applicants, but state analysts expect the law to impact fewer than ten people per year.

The unpredictable schedules of retail and fast-food workers is a big issue in workers rights campaigns. Now, the New York attorney general is investigating the way some of the country's biggest retailers handle scheduling.

In New York, if a worker shows up for a shift that he doesn't end up being needed for, the law says he still is due four hours of pay. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says retailers, especially, rely heavily on systems that require workers to be ready to work a shift — regardless of whether they end up working. It's called on-call work.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Connecticut lost jobs in February, the state’s first monthly decline since last summer. Department of Labor officials say the record cold snap may be to blame.

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Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun have been dominant forces in the gambling world since entering the market in the 1990s. With that success came revenue for the state of Connecticut. But neighboring states are getting in on the game, opening their own casinos seeking many of the same patrons. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

If you follow Hartford politics, you may remember Kennard Ray's story.

Less than a day after being hired as Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra’s new deputy chief in 2013, Ray resigned from the position. He had a criminal record that Segarra said was "not initially disclosed," but came to light after The Hartford Courant asked questions about Ray's past.  

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Hartford is investing in a $350 million development in the North End of the city that will include housing, shopping, and a minor league baseball stadium, dubbed Downtown North. But will investment in Downtown North translate into economic prosperity to the rest of the North End?

Ricky Aponte / Creative Commons

More young people are moving to the heart of cities, according to a report from think tank City Observatory. This includes cities that we usually think of as “economically troubled,” like Buffalo, Cleveland, and, yes, even Hartford. Some of these cities have been losing their overall population, but gaining in their numbers of college graduates in their 20s and 30s.

A report in The New York Times said the number of college-educated people moving to city centers has surged, up 37 percent since 2000, even while their populations have shrunk slightly. What’s behind that trend, and is it happening in Connecticut?

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Should employers be able to get access to a worker's personal email or their social media account? That's the question at the center of a legislative proposal being discussed in Hartford, which begs the bigger question: do any employers actually do this? 

The bill would make it illegal for employers to force workers or job applicants to share passwords to their personal online accounts

A Bennington, Vermont manufacturing plant is closing, putting 62 people out of work.

Ricky Aponte / Creative Commons

More young people are moving to the heart of cities, according to a report from think tank City Observatory. This includes cities that we usually think of as “economically troubled,” like Buffalo, Cleveland, and, yes, even Hartford. Some of these cities have been losing their overall population, but gaining in their numbers of college graduates in their 20s and 30s.

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President Obama courted controversy with his own party in the State of the Union by again calling for a key Asian trade deal to be fast-tracked.

The Trans Pacific Partnership is opposed by some senior Democrats, who believe it will lead to a loss of jobs here. 

Obama is asking to be given the authority to negotiate the deal without congressional oversight. Connecticut’s Third District Representative Rosa DeLauro said that’s not acceptable.

As President Obama prepares for the State of the Union address tonight, some Democratic members of Congress are opposing one of the White House’s proposals.

Waterbury Hospital

Waterbury Hospital announced Thursday that it's cutting positions to deal with a $9 million dollar shortfall in government reimbursements.

Hospital CEO Darlene Stromstad said an estimated 100 full- and part-time workers will be affected by the plan. 

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