Wednesday

Starbucks Tells Customers to Leave Their Guns Behind

Tired of being thrust into the nation’s debate over guns, Starbucks asks patrons not to come in with firearms. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz issued an open letter today aimed at firearms owners. He stopped short of banning guns outright, as some retailers have done, saying he doesn’t want to put his employees in the position of confronting armed customers. Starbucks’ new stance follows criticism from gun control advocates, and praise from gun rights advocates, based on the coffee chain’s previous policy of allowing patrons to openly display weapons in states that allow open carry. In an interview, Schultz said groups on both sides of the gun control debate used Starbucks “as a staging ground for their own positioning, and that resulted in the marketplace mischaracterizing us as being on one side of the issue or the other.” The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times

Mining company fined $1 million for a 2011 accident that killed two workers in Sudbury, Ontario. The fine against the Canadian unit of Brazil’s Vale SA is the largest ever imposed by an Ontario court for violations of the province’s workplace safety law. Vale confirmed in a statement that it agreed to plead guilty to three counts of violating the safety law. Along with the fine, the company will pay a required 25 percent surcharge into a fund that benefits victims of crime. Two miners working the night shift at Vale’s Stobie Mine on June 8, 2011, were crushed to death by muck, sand and water. Ontario officials said Vale had not dealt with water issues at the mine, and as water accumulated, it created dangerous “wet muck.” Reuters

U.S. minimum wage and overtime pay protection extended to nearly 2 million home health care workers. These workers, who help the elderly and disabled with everyday tasks such as bathing and eating, have been exempt from U.S. wage laws since 1974. “Home care workers are no longer treated like teenage babysitters performing casual employment under this final rule,” said Labor Secretary Thomas Perez. Worker advocates have long sought the change, which takes effect in January 2015, arguing that nearly half of caregivers live at or below the poverty level or receive public benefits such as food stamps and Medicaid. But critics claim new overtime requirements will make it tougher for families to afford home care for aging parents. The Associated Press

Study suggests Gulf of Mexico cleanup workers are at greater risk of liver cancer, leukemia and other disorders. The study, by doctors at Houston’s University Cancer and Diagnostic Centers, sheds light on potential repercussions for the more than 170,000 people who performed such jobs as cleaning beaches after the 2010 BP oil spill. The researchers’ findings were based on blood evaluations of 117 former cleanup workers. People hired for the cleanup encountered oil from BP’s failed Macondo well and possibly chemical dispersants used to break up the crude. While they were given protective suits, some workers may have removed the gear amid sweltering summer conditions. Oil contains benzene, a powerful carcinogen. FuelFix.com

Safety regulators cite employers in Missouri and Illinois. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration accused a Piramal Glass USA plant in Park Hills, Mo., of 21 violations and proposed fines of $137,400. OSHA began its investigation after a March accident in which a worker suffered a finger amputation while repairing a machine. “An employer’s failure to power off energy sources before conducting equipment maintenance is unacceptable,” an OSHA official said. Separately, OSHA accused Cross Construction of Urbana, Ill., of three offenses, including one willful violation and two repeat charges, for failing to protect workers from cave-in hazards. OSHA proposed $75,460 in penalties and put Cross in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program. In another case involving cave-in hazards, OSHA charged Feutz Contractors of Paris, Ill., with four violations, including one willful charge. Penalties of $67,760 were proposed. OSHA (Park Hills, Mo.), OSHA (Urbana, Ill.), OSHA (Paris, Ill.)

Compiled by Stuart Silverstein

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One comment to “Starbucks Tells Customers to Leave Their Guns Behind”

  1. Ben Kelley

    It will be interesting to see whether gun-carrying Starbucks customers comply with Mr. Schultz’s request that they leave their firearms at home. The extent to which they don’t comply might be a good measure of the “defiance” quotient among the pro-gun faction, i.e., “I’ll bring my gun into your shop, home, office, school or anyplace else, whether you like it or not.”

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