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Lawsuit challenges a Hollywood pillar: Unpaid internships

Eric Glatt

Today’s post was shared by The Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group and comes from

Melvin Mar’s entrée to Hollywood was far from glamorous. As an unpaid intern for "Platoon" producer Arnold Kopelson, Mar was responsible for fetching his boss’ lunch of matzo ball soup every day.

Mar calculated to the minute how long it would take to walk from the production company’s Century City offices to the Stage Deli nearby, buy the soup and decant it into a bowl on Kopelson’s desk, still piping hot, at precisely 1 p.m.

Mar parlayed his internship into jobs at DreamWorks and Scott Rudin Productions. Now Mar is a producer for "Bad Teacher" filmmaker Jake Kasdan — and he says he owes a lot to the lessons he learned as a humble Hollywood gofer 15 years ago.

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"The soup — it was about getting it right, the details," said Mar, 35. "It prepared me for everything else."

Uncompensated minions are as central to the movie business as private jets, splashy premieres and $200 lunches. But the Hollywood tradition is under assault.

A class action by former interns on the 2010 film "Black Swan" could radically change the industry’s reliance on unpaid neophytes. The suit seeks back pay, damages and an order barring use of unpaid interns at Fox Searchlight Pictures and other units of Fox Entertainment Group.

A legal victory for the plaintiffs "would bring to a halt the many unpaid internships that offer real value to participants, giving them experiences and opportunities they would not otherwise receive,"…

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N.C.A.A. Planning to Address Benefits for Some of Its Players, Officials Say

Today’s post was shared by Gelman on Workplace Injuries and comes from

ARLINGTON, Tex. — For the last few months, football players at Northwestern have been pushing to be recognized as a union, which they hope will eventually force universities to further limit practice time and to provide them with benefits like better medical coverage.

Their efforts have met considerable resistance from the N.C.A.A., which has suggested that an organized labor force would explode the model of collegiate athletics. But some N.C.A.A. leaders now say they are inching closer to changes that would give the athletes at least some of the things they are seeking — which the officials hope will stave off the union effort.

At a news conference Sunday, the day before the men’s basketball championship game here, Mark Emmert, the N.C.A.A. president, and a group of the organization’s leaders discussed the overhaul plan, which is being hashed out. The basic idea, they said, is to give autonomy to the five so-called power conferences in college athletics — the Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Pacific-12 and Southeastern Conferences — allowing them to provide additional benefits to their athletes.

“There are things that need to get fixed,” said Emmert, whose organization has been defending itself against a series of high-profile lawsuits claiming that it did not adequately address head injuries and that men’s basketball and football players should receive a share of the revenue generated by their sports.

The Northwestern…

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Points for Product Placement: N.C.A.A. Cashes In, but Not the Players

Today’s post was shared by Gelman on Workplace Injuries and comes from

Traevon Jackson using a ladder and scissors from N.C.A.A. sponsors as he cut down the net after Wisconsin advanced to the Final Four with an overtime victory against Arizona in Anaheim, Calif.

ARLINGTON, Tex. — The new champions of men’s college basketball, whoever they may be, will cut down a net here Monday night. And when they do, they will climb to the basket on a blue-and-yellow Werner ladder, and they will clip the cords with a pair of orange Fiskars scissors.

They will also probably wear Nike hats and T-shirts, and they might sip from Powerade cups as they cheer on their teammates.

In a tournament that has been packed with upsets and surprises, one of the few mainstays has been the prominence of the logos of corporate sponsors alongside the N.C.A.A.’s. In total, some 19 major partners and corporate supporters are listed in the official fan guide of the Final Four.

The rabid commercialization is hardly new to March Madness and the Final Four — and it is not uncommon in professional sports and at the Olympics. But the N.C.A.A.’s opponents are using it as fresh ammunition with the model for college athletics increasingly under siege.

The N.C.A.A. is facing lawsuits that seek to give players a bigger slice of the billions of dollars in revenue generated by men’s basketball and football. The athletic association is also facing a unionization movement, emboldened by a recent ruling that the Northwestern football team could…

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NE Worker Fatally Struck by Front-End Loader at Asphalt Facility

Today’s post was shared by WC CompNewsNetwork and comes from
Home | News | NE Worker Fatally Struck by Front-End Loader at Asphalt Facility
By 03/07/2014 12:58:00

Albion, NE ( – Werner Construction Inc. has been cited for three safety violations by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration after a maintenance worker was fatally injured after being struck by a front-end loader. The worker became pinned between the loader and a semitrailer. The 35-year-old full-time employee died of his injuries on Sept. 14, 2013.

"Struck-by hazards continue to be one of the leading causes of injury to workers. OSHA has investigated 37 cases in the past six years in which a worker was fatally injured from a struck-by vehicle incident in the Kansas City Region alone," said Marcia P. Drumm, OSHA’s acting regional administrator in Kansas City. "Employers must train their workers to identify the potential for such hazards and take necessary precautions to prevent them."

Werner Construction was issued two serious citations involving operating the front end loader which had not received required servicing of safety features and failing to have someone adequately trained to administer first aid when medical treatment was not near the workplace. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The other-than-serious…

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Support for Today’s Joan Holloways

Today’s post was shared by US Labor Department and comes from

In his State of the Union address last week, President Obama touched on a core issue that has affected women for as long as they have been in the workplace. He said a woman “deserves to have a baby without sacrificing her job. A mother deserves a day off to care for a sick child or sick parent without running into hardship. And you know what, a father does too. It is time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a ‘Mad Men’ episode.”

Inadequate support for working American families is nothing new. In 1963, the Kennedy administration produced a report about the status of working women in the United States. The report pointed out that no more than one-third of America’s working women had any sort of help with loss of income due to childbearing. The report also noted that employers often passed over women for employment because of the assumption that they would get pregnant and leave the job.

It’s a shame to think that the twenty-first century’s Joan Holloways still find themselves facing tough decisions about something as fundamental as having a job and a family.

Since the 1960s, much has changed for women in the labor force. The number of women and mothers in the workforce has risen dramatically, as has their share of household income. Unfortunately, no matter what their occupation, little has changed in terms of workplace support for those that have babies or sick relatives to care for. While there are laws in place to help…

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Geriatricians Question Five Common Treatments

Today’s post was shared by Jon L Gelman and comes from

It tells you something about American health care that scores of medical societies have joined a major campaign aimed at telling patients and doctors what not to do.

That’s not exactly the language the Choosing Wisely initiative uses, admittedly. It has recruited more than 60 groups, representing specialties from dermatology to thoracic surgery, to come up with lists delicately called “Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question.”

“Question” sounds better than “flee,” doesn’t it? And it allows for individual differences in a way that a campaign called “Danger: Unacceptable Side Effects Ahead,” or “Watch Out: Useless Procedures,” might not.

Still, Choosing Wisely wants to help us select drugs and tests and procedures that are backed by evidence, that don’t duplicate other treatments, that are “truly necessary” and won’t hurt us. Since 2012, its lists have included hundreds of drugs, tests and practices that fail to meet those standards, with more to come. Point made.

We reported the American Geriatrics Society’s first “Five Things” list last year. The society has just published its second list, so I again turned to Dr. Sei Lee, a geriatrician at the University of California, San Francisco, and a member of the panel that developed both lists, to help explain what else older adults should be dodg — um, questioning. (You can see all 10 items here.)


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Inmate lawsuit accuses Casper jail of shoddy medical care

Today’s post was shared by The Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group and comes from

An inmate at the Natrona County Detention Center has filed federal and state lawsuits alleging the facility provided inadequate medical treatment for himself and others, along with committing other federal civil rights violations.

Jeromy Bray claims he was suffering from severe abdominal pain in November 2013 when he was sent to the jail’s infirmary. Once there, a nurse reportedly took his blood pressure before telling him he was fine and that it was “probably something you ate,” according to Bray’s complaint.

Bray states he told the nurse the pain had been going on for a week. The nurse allegedly told him he had an “inverted hemorrhoid” and that the only treatment available was to “drink a lot of water.”

“The nurse on duty came to this medical diagnosis without doing any tests other than blood pressure,” the complaint states.

Bray claims the pain became so great that while he was at the Central Wyoming Counseling Center about a month later, he was taken to the emergency room and diagnosed with a severe case of diverticulitis.

Diverticulitis is a painful condition caused when pouches in the wall of the colon form and then become infected, according to the Mayo Clinic’s website. It may be brought about by the lack of fiber in a diet, according to the site.

In his lawsuit, Bray claims medical providers in the jail are “deliberately indifferent” to the medical needs of the prisoners and that staff…

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The Longest 10 Seconds of Your Life

Today’s post was shared by WC CompNewsNetwork and comes from

By Robert Wilson 02/03/2014 10:07:00

A story out of Washington State last week reminds us that life is precious, miracles do happen, and lock out tag out was invented for a reason. A man who had climbed inside a commercial wood chipper to clear a blockage was pulled through the machine when a co-worker turned it back on – and he survived.

Frank Arce, of Longview, WA is an employee of Swanson Bark and Wood Products. He remained conscious during the accident and remembers the entire 10 second journey through the machine. He sustained serious injuries, with his body being described as "shredded and crushed". He has a broken pelvis, seven broken ribs, a shattered ankle, bruised liver, broken leg, a collapsed lung, crushed knee and a deep cut that "runs the entire length of the back of his body".  

The co-worker who turned the machine on did not know Arce was inside.

What an agonizing 10 seconds that had to be. I suspect the event, while most tragic for Arce, was a devastating one for all involved. With the flick of a switch, the lives of many people likely changed forever; all for the lack of a simple safety procedure. It was mentioned that Arce was doing something "routinely practiced" by he and his co-workers. You will find no better example to demonstrate that familiarity breeds contempt, and Arce and his fellow employees had 10 torturous seconds to learn that lesson.

The source article that brought me this story was another example of…

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