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SOURCE:  U.S. Department of Labor

600px-US-DeptOfLabor-Seal.svgLOS ANGELES — Widespread labor violations by employers in the Southern California garment industry are costing workers millions of dollars a year in unpaid wages, according to the U.S. Labor Department. During fiscal year 2014, the department’s Wage and Hour Division conducted 221 investigations of employers in this industry, almost all in and around Los Angeles, and found $3,004,085 in unpaid wages for 1,549 workers. The division said that amounted to an average of $1,900 per worker, which is five times the amount a typical sewing machine operator earns in a week.

“Fierce competition in the garment industry leads many contract shops to lower the cost of their services, frequently at the expense of workers’ wages,” said Dr. David Weil, administrator for the Wage and Hour Division. “When workers don’t receive the wages to which they are legally entitled, they can’t afford the basics like food, rent and child care.”

Weil said the division is engaging in strategic enforcement efforts, such as directed investigations and identifying supply chains to combat what he calls a “race-to-the-bottom culture,” which imposes an unnecessary hardship on people who are trying to support themselves and their families. “We will uphold the American promise of a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work,” he said.

According to the division, minimum wage and overtime violations have historically been high in the garment industry. Investigators have found violations in 89 percent of more than 1,600 cases in Southern California since 2009, leading to more than $15 million in recovered back wages for nearly 12,000 workers. The apparel industry typically employs large populations of immigrants with limited English language proficiency who are unaware of their rights or are reluctant to speak up. This makes them particularly vulnerable to labor violations.

“We are committed to strong enforcement and providing educational workshops for employers, yet we continue to find significant problems in this industry,” said Ruben Rosalez, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division’s Western Region. “We are using a variety of strategies to better protect workers and level the playing field for law-abiding businesses.”

According to Rosalez, the division has stepped up surveillance of establishments and deployed more multilingual investigators in the last several years. He also said that the agency is working with the department’s Office of the Solicitor to obtain liquidated damages as a remedy for workers. The division may also assess civil money penalties when employers are found to be repeat or willful offenders. And, Rosalez said, the agency is addressing supply chains by using agreements to ensure compliance with minimum wage and overtime rules by having manufacturers monitor their contractors.

Recent Wage and Hour Division cases:

  • An investigation of Roger Garments in Montebello yielded more than $93,000 in overtime and minimum wage back wages paid to 44 workers. Roger Garments was contracted by Santa Ana-based Lunar Mode, an apparel manufacturer, for nearly half of its goods. Wage and Hour investigators also cited Lunar Mode for nearly $7,000 in back wages. Products in this case were sold to Macy’s and other women’s fashion retailers.
  • During an investigation of Los Angeles-based garment contractor EVE LA Inc., investigators determined that 37 employees were due nearly $87,000 in unpaid minimum wage and overtime compensation. Investigators found that apparel workers utilized as checkers, trimmers and pressers were paid flat weekly salaries of $270 for an average of 50 hours a week. They were producing women’s clothing for manufacturers Dan Bee Inc. and Lovely Day Fashion. Dan Bee sells to retailers Must Have and Potter’s Pot. And Lovely Day Fashion sells apparel through online retailer Nasty Gal.
  • More than $28,000 in minimum wage and overtime back wages were recovered for 13 employees at Lucky Stars, a garment contractor in South El Monte. Lucky Stars sold product to retailers, such as Macy’s, JC Penney and Kohl’s.

The Fair Labor Standards Act, which the Wage and Hour Division enforces, requires that covered garment and other workers be paid at least the national minimum wage of $7.25 for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Employers also must maintain accurate time and payroll records.



Tuscaloosa, AL — Stillman Chairman Dennis Driver will serve as Grand Marshall for Stillmans Homecoming Parade on Saturday, Nov 8, 2014 at 9 a.m. in downtown Tuscaloosa. Following the parade a Football Game is scheduled at 1p.m., Stillmans Tiger Stadium. The week-long activities will end with The Thomas E. Lyle Battle of the Bands 4:30 p.m. at Stillman’s

Driver kicked off his tenure at the Historically Black College with a gift awarded to Stillman anonymously for $2 million.

Driver kicked off his tenure at the Historically Black College with a gift awarded to Stillman anonymously for $2 million.


Chairman Driver said he is humbled by his recent selection and motivated by the generous gift, “Stillman College played a significant role not only in my life, but in those who entered its hallowed halls of learning with quill and paper to todays students whose daily use of technology has elevated their Stillman experience into a global journey.”

“This gift will allow us to make a significant impact on our financial responsibilities and provide increased opportunities for our students. Our ability to do this supports the Stillman mission of providing an enriching educational environment for our current and future students. We hope that this donation will serve as an incentive for our alumni and the community to support Stillman at an unprecedented level,” said school president Peter Edmund Millet.

As the new Chairman of the Board, Driver intends to reach out to alumni all over the world and implore them to give back to the college and provide support to students, many of which are first generation college students, in an effort to keep Stillmans legacy strong and uplifting.

There’s an old saying, ‘never forget where you came from.’ Many people dream of coming home after leaving the nest, gaining experience, and using their newfound skills to improve conditions of where they started. Dennis O. Driver, has not only done well for himself, highly educated and well-disciplined, but he has come home to Alabama to bring his wealth of knowledge, life experience and financial resources to Stillman College; and he is a proud alumni of the 138-year old Historically Black College.



Deadline is Sunday, November 9, 2014

Deadline is Sunday, November 9, 2014

Nationwide — The 2015 Ford HBCU Challenge is inviting college students to submit their ideas on “Building Sustainable Communities” for a chance to win a college scholarship and other awards. One first-place student team will receive a grand prize of $75,000 in scholarships, university and community awards!

Students must have a strong interest in their communities and the environment. Project ideas must include innovative ideas on how to build sustainable communities. The projects must solve a community problem with the applicant being the lead project coordinator. Students must demonstrate an active role with the community sharing in the objective.

Applications must include budgets for the project, how the project will be sustained ongoing, and any other resources that may be required to make the project a success. Four teams will be chosen among entries and receive a trip to Ford Motor Companys World Headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan where they will enter the finalist round and present their proposals. Prizes include the grand prize, second, third and fourth place winners.

The deadline to apply is Sunday, November 9, 2014.



CHICAGO – Cold temperatures, heavy snow, and treacherous ice storms are all risks of the impending winter season.

“Severe winter weather can be dangerous and even life-threatening for people who don’t take the proper precautions,” said FEMA800px-FEMA_logo.svg (1) Region V acting administrator Janet Odeshoo. “Preparedness begins with knowing your risks, making a communications plan with your family and having an emergency supply kit with essentials such as water, food, flashlights and medications.”

Once you’ve taken these steps, consider going beyond the basics of disaster preparedness with the following tips to stay safe this cold season:

Winterize your emergency supply kit:

  • Before winter approaches, add the following items to your supply kit:
    • Rock salt or other environmentally safe products to melt ice on walkways. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency for a complete list of recommended products.
    • Sand to improve traction.
    • Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment.
    • Sufficient heating fuel and/or a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
    • Adequate clothing and blankets to keep you warm.

Stay fire safe:

  • Keep flammable items at least three feet from heat sources like radiators, space heaters, fireplaces and wood stoves.
  • Plug only one heat-producing appliance (such as a space heater) into an electrical outlet at a time.
  • Ensure you have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home. Check it on a monthly basis.

Keep warm, even when it’s cold outside:

  • If you have a furnace, have it inspected now to ensure it’s in good working condition.
  • If your home heating requires propane gas, stock up on your propane supply and ensure you have enough to last an entire winter. Many homeowners faced shortages due to the record freezing winter weather last year, and this season there’s the possibility of lower than normal temperatures again. Don’t be caught unprepared.
  • Avoid the dangers of carbon monoxide by installing battery-powered or battery back-up carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Winterize your home to extend the life of your fuel supply by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic.

Prevent frozen pipes:

  • If your pipes are vulnerable to freezing, i.e., they run through an unheated or unprotected space, consider keeping your faucet at a slow drip when extremely cold temperatures are predicted.
  • If you’re planning a trip this winter, avoid setting your heat too low. If temperatures dip dangerously low while you’re away, that could cause pipes to freeze. Consider draining your home’s water system before leaving as another way to avoid frozen pipes.

You can always find valuable information to help you prepare for winter emergencies at Bookmark FEMA’s mobile site, or download the FEMA app today to have vital information just one click away.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Beenetwork Media Group (BMG) has issued the following 2015 Open Call for Speakers.  Topics to be discussed should be in the area(s) of:



Civic Responsibility

Community Empowerment



Youth Empowerment

Interested parties should be able to present a twenty-five minute presentation on one of the above topics.  Speakers are required to be at least 18 years or older.  Brief biographies, pictures and 2015 availability should be sent to: Sample DVD or CD should be mailed to:  BMG, 2900 West Broadway #40, Louisville, KY 40211 no later than November 17th, 2014.  All submitted material will be held in confidentiality and not returned.


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