Skip to main content

Thomas Perez delivers remarks after President Barack Obama announced Perez as his nominee for Labor Secretary, in the East Room of the White House, March 18, 2013.
Labor Secretary Thomas Perez's hands are tied, thanks to the Republican shutdown.
Here's something Republicans are likely celebrating about the government shutdown they caused: It's going to seriously slow or even halt all manner of ways the government protects workers on the job.

Shutting down the National Labor Relations Board has been a Republican goal for much of Barack Obama's presidency, and now Just 11 people will be left working at the agency, at a time when there's already a backlog of unsettled cases on unfair labor practices, with many workers having waited years for justice as Republicans found other ways to hold up the NLRB's work or throw it into question.

At the Labor Department and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, just 18 percent and five percent of workers, respectively, will be on the job during the shutdown. As a result:

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Labor Department office that performs the crucial function of monitoring workplaces, would have to stop inspections that don't involve immediate dangers or deaths, the department wrote in the plan. That means the agency's routine inspections -- an already woefully underfunded responsibility -- would generally grind to a halt during the shutdown. [...]

The payment of unemployment insurance and workers compensation claims would keep moving during the shutdown, but the Labor Department's investigations into wage theft allegations would cease, according to the shutdown plan.

In 2012, the Labor Department collected a record $280 million in back wages for 300,000 workers, and new Labor Secretary Thomas Perez had vowed to continue that work. But thanks to the shutdown, the investigations into employers who don't pay workers the wages they've earned, often misclassifying employees as independent contractors to avoid wage and hour laws and payroll taxes, aren't happening, and those particularly vulnerable workers will be kept waiting still longer. The EEOC, meanwhile, will still be taking discrimination complaints—but it won't be able to do anything about them until the shutdown ends.

Little enforcement of workplace safety, no enforcement of wage and hour or employment discrimination laws ... this is like a Republican paradise.

Join Daily Kos and the DCCC to tell John Boehner: End this shutdown now.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 06:57 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site