Fla. supermarket chain blamed for worker's COVID-19 death, but lawsuits face long odds
A rare COVID-19 lawsuit claims a deli worker at Publix died of the disease because the company prohibited employees from wearing masks during the early weeks of the pandemic.Gerardo Gutierrez, an employee in Miami Beach, wasn’t allowed to wear his mask back in March because Publix feared that mask-wearing employees would frighten customers, the lawsuit claims.On March 27 and March 28, Gutierrez worked beside an employee who was showing symptoms of infection, including coughing. When his coworker tested positive, Gutierrez was sent home and told to self-isolate.He was hospitalized April 10 and ...
Washington state stockpiles N95 masks as hospitals see demand rise in new coronavirus wave
SEATTLE — Sitting in a Washington state government warehouse are more than 30 million N95 masks — enough to provide every one of the state’s health care workers nearly 100 masks each.They’re sitting there even though nearly all of the state’s hospitals are reusing their N95s or otherwise conserving supply, as the nation faces a looming shortage and Washington’s COVID-19 cases spike to the highest levels in the pandemic.Does the stockpile represent careful planning by state officials for this surge, or a missed opportunity to provide about $90 million of needed masks?Some in the industry suppor...
The Seattle Times
Commentary: Trump has consistently harmed workers
It’s been almost four years since Donald Trump was elected president, promising to be the workers’ champion.Instead, he has delivered a series of blows to working people.This includes — but is certainly not limited to — appointing a Labor secretary, Eugene Scalia, whose interests are clearly more aligned with business than with workers; staffing OSHA at its lowest levels in 45 years; rolling back the collection of damages due to workers whose employers commit wage theft; and making it more difficult to hold multiple parties responsible for labor law violations. (This latter effort, recently st...
Tribune News Service
Michigan Supreme Court ruling shouldn't take effect until Oct. 30, Gov. Whitmer says
DAVISON, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration is asking the Michigan Supreme Court to clarify its decision to strike down her emergency powers during the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t take effect until Oct. 30.Whitmer and Robert Gordon, director of the Department of Health and Human Services, filed a motion on the matter Monday, three days after the high court’s decision.Without the 28-day “transition,” Michigan workers and their families could lose unemployment benefits and “critical measures meant to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus” would “immediately lapse,” the governor’s of...
The Detroit News
COVID-19 cases among health care workers underreported by CDC, nurses union says
FORT WORTH, Texas — Fiana Tulip spent the last 10 weeks trying to figure out how her mother, a health care worker in Dallas, contracted and died of COVID-19.Isabelle Papadimitriou, 64, was a respiratory therapist at the Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation. She died on July 4, one week after contracting the novel coronavirus.Tulip said she learned after talking with her mother’s colleagues and reading her journals and text messages that the hospital failed to alert her mother and other staff members at the rehabilitation center that one of the patients had tested positive for COVI...
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
'I'm not TSA. I'm a bartender': Workers say they're defenseless when customers don't wear masks
PHILADELPHIA — When she was working as a cashier this summer at a Walmart store in Northeast Philadelphia, a 20-year-old woman said she would see customers wearing their masks under their chins or not wearing one at all, but “it didn’t make sense to make a whole big scene,” especially if the line at her register was long. She worried that her manager would get mad at her if she slowed down the line while dealing with maskless customers.At a Philadelphia Rite Aid, a worker in her 60s was instructed to alert her manager if a customer was refusing to put on a mask. But managers, she said, usually...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Amazon tries to make it easier to identify green products with new 'Climate Pledge Friendly' label
SEATTLE — “Time is fleeting,” Amazon tells shoppers who click on its new Climate Pledge Friendly label, an hourglass with wings. It began appearing next to about 25,000 items for sale on its website Wednesday that meet at least one of 19 sustainability standards.The standards, including one related to packaging issued by Amazon itself, cover a wide range of product characteristics, some of which include explicit efforts to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with their production. Other standards that earn Amazon’s Climate Pledge Friendly label require only that a product be made of...
The Seattle Times
70% of imported KN95 masks fail US filtration standards, study finds
PHILADELPHIA — Up to 70% of KN95 masks do not meet the U.S. standards for effectiveness, according to a new study by ECRI, a Pennsylvania-based patient safety organization.The findings suggest an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 for health care workers and patients at hospitals that imported the masks from China to deal with massive shortages of protective equipment during the early days of the pandemic. (N95 masks meet the U.S. standards for effectiveness.)Public health experts have already criticized KN95 masks for featuring ear loops instead of straps that go around the head and neck....
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Are portable potties safe during the pandemic?
When you gotta go, you gotta go. Portable restrooms are nearby, but are they safe in the COVID era? We asked a sanitation expert.Q. Has demand increased?A. Demand for portable sanitation equipment has changed during the pandemic. With so many outdoor events canceled, fewer restrooms are needed for things like fairs, concerts and weddings. Demand has gone up considerably on job sites, where existing OSHA laws and new guidance for the pandemic have required more restrooms, hand-wash facilities and more frequent cleaning. We have also seen a surge in requests for equipment in places where indoor ...
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
16 hospitalized after fleeing Austin crane collision
AUSTIN, Texas — Diane Stewart is used to the occasional construction noise coming from the work site near her Mueller neighborhood apartment in East Austin. But on Wednesday morning, she heard something that made her pause.“It sounded like pipes falling. It was a loud crash; it made me turn,” Stewart said.What Stewart heard was two construction cranes colliding, causing dozens of people beneath the cranes to flee. Medics responded at 9:38 a.m. to the site in the 1600 block of Robert Browning Street, just north of Mueller Lake Park near Dell Children’s Medical Center.When medics arrived, they t...