U.S. Department of Labor

Ohio Valley Weekly Unemployment Claims Down Slightly To 82K

Jun 4, 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

As the Ohio Valley continues its phased-in reopening, unemployment insurance claims are down slightly compared to the week before. The region is still reporting high levels of unemployment assistance applications.

At least 82,011 people in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia joined those seeking help during the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Ohio Valley Unemployment Claims Exceed 100,000

May 28, 2020
Unemployment Line
Matt Rourke / Associated Press

As some businesses in the Ohio Valley reopen and welcome back both customers and employees the region continues reporting high levels of unemployment claims.

At least 100,863 people in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia joined those seeking help during the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic..

Ohio Valley Making Progress On Unemployment Backlog

May 14, 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia are making progress on unemployment claims filed in March as states begin a phased-in reopening.

New unemployment insurance claims are still reaching unprecedented levels across the Ohio Valley region.

Adobe Stock

Six restaurants in West Virginia and Ohio have been ordered to pay $111,000 in back pay and damages to 27 workers for minimum wage and overtime violations. 

The U.S. Department of Labor says in a news release a federal court for West Virginia's southern district also imposed a $20,150 civil penalty on four Las Trancas restaurants and a Plaza Maya restaurant in West Virginia and a Las Trancas restaurant in Ohio. 


Roane County Floods
Jeff Fetty

West Virginia has secured a $3.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to offer 250 temporary jobs for flood disaster clean-up activities in the 12 counties under the Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster declaration. The program will be administered through WorkForce West Virginia.

Federal labor officials say another $4.3 million is heading into West Virginia to help out-of-work coal miners.

A U.S. Department of Labor news release Tuesday says the National Dislocated Worker Grant money will go to WorkForce West Virginia.

The release says West Virginia has previously received $10.7 million combined since 2012 through the grant program.

Facebook.com

West Virginia will receive another funding boost from the federal government to help with job training and career services for laid-off coal miners.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced Tuesday that the state will receive up to $7.6 million from a grant program.

Federal regulators have cited Pilgrim's Pride for safety violations at the company's poultry processing plant in Moorefield.

The U.S. Department of Labor said Tuesday that the violations stem from three worker injuries in April, May and June. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that the injuries were caused by preventable violations.

Marshall University
Wikipedia / en.wikipedia.org

A Marshall University program has been awarded nearly $5 million to expand its apprenticeship program nationwide.

The U.S. Department of Labor awarded the money to the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing.

Black lung is a deadly disease caused by exposure to dust underground.
Department of Labor

The public is getting the chance to weigh in on a proposed rule that gives coal miners greater access to their health records.

The U.S. Labor Department's Office of Workers' Compensation Programs has made the proposed Black Lung Benefits Act rule available for public comment starting Wednesday.

  A federal judge dismissed a notice from the U.S. Secretary of Labor finding that a Patriot Coal subsidiary displayed a "pattern of violations" in its operations.

The subsidiary, Brody Mining, had been cited with 54 orders concerning mine safety or health hazards. Those orders caused Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez to find that a pattern of violations existed.

Jessica Lilly

Former coal miner Robert Bailey was recently approved for a double lung transplant after waiting months for a black lung medical benefits claim to be approved. We spoke with Robert Bailey in June when he was waiting to hear if Patriot Coal’s insurance company would approve his appointment for a medical evaluation. 

Bailey’s doctor told him he needed a lung transplant in February of this year. Since then, he’s been working towards the waiting list. As we reported in June, Bailey had to cancel an evaluation appointment as Patriot Coal’s insurance company, Underwriters Safety and Claims, evaluated his request for coverage.  We caught up with Bailey at his kitchen table in Princeton about three months later to recap his journey.

U.S. Department of Labor

  West Virginia is among 46 states sharing in $87 million in federal grants to improve the performance and integrity of state unemployment insurance programs.

For West Virginia, the grant totals $43,710. But the state is also part of a consortium that will receive a total of $4.5 million.

Maryland will be the lead state. The third partner is Vermont.

Occupational Safety & Health Administration, OSHA
Occupational Safety & Health Administration

  A West Virginia sawmill that serves the coal industry is facing an $85,000 in federal penalties for what the government says is a workplace that puts its workers at risk of serious injuries.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Monday the proposed penalties follow two investigations and a safety inspection at Wayne Lumber and Mulch Inc. OSHA says the Wayne mill continues to expose its 14 workers to "willful, repeat and serious safety and health hazards..."

Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  A company that spilled chemicals into West Virginia's largest water supply has paid an $11,000 fine for a pair of violations.

The Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined Freedom Industries $7,000 earlier this month for keeping storage tanks containing crude MCHM behind a diked wall that was not liquid tight.

Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  A federal agency has fined the company that spilled chemicals into West Virginia's largest water supply $11,000 for a pair of violations.

The Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined Freedom Industries $7,000 for keeping storage tanks containing crude MCHM behind a diked wall that was not liquid tight. On Jan. 9, roughly 10,000 gallons of MCHM leaked from one of the tanks and through the riverside diked wall and left 300,000 residents without clean water for days.

OSHA also fined Freedom Industries $4,000 for failing to have standard railings on an elevated platform.

region1workforcewestvirginia.org

  WorkForce West Virginia is receiving more than $191,000 in federal funding to help West Virginians who are out of work find employment opportunities.

Sen. Joe Manchin says the funds are through the Re-Employment and Eligibility Assessments program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor.

The federal program helps reduce the number of weeks unemployment insurance benefits are claimed by advancing the re-employment of claimants.

  West Virginia is receiving more than $6 million in federal funds for job training programs for laid-off workers.

The U.S. Department of Labor is awarding more than $154.7 million nationwide through the Job-Driven National Emergency Grant program.

Officials say the funds will be used to train workers who lost a job through no fault of their own for jobs in high-demand industries.

AllVoices.com

  Top federal labor and mine safety officials are heading to West Virginia to release a long-awaited final rule on coal dust.

The announcement will be made Wednesday in Morgantown. Among those attending will be U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez and Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. The director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, John Howard, will also discuss the new rule.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

A McDowell County clinic is worried that federal cuts could compromise care for coal miners and their families.  The concern comes after grants for the Black Lung Clinic Programs were capped at $900,000. Since West Virginia was the only state to receive more than that annually, it’s expected to hit home the hardest.   

An audit says the Mine Safety and Health Administration needs to improve its data on underreporting of mining injuries and illnesses so that it can better target enforcement efforts.

The audit by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General says the agency has taken steps to detect and deter underreporting of accidents and illnesses. But more can be done to address the problem.