Tag Archives: Department of Labor

Middle Village factory hit with over $85K in fines for safety violations

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Robert Pozarycki

The Juniper Elbow Co. in Middle Village must pay more than $85,000 to the federal Department of Labor after inspectors recently found more than a dozen safety violations on site, it was announced.

The metal products manufacturer founded in 1928 and located at 72-15 Metropolitan Ave. was cited for 15 total violations following an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspection on Sept. 9.

According to OSHA, inspectors found four hazardous conditions similar to ones previously observed during a 2012 visit, including blocked exit routes, missing or unmounted fire extinguishers, improperly guarded lathes and failure to monitor noise levels.

Other hazards discovered during this year’s inspection included a lack of proper egress to the street, an inadequate number of welding screens, an improperly painted sprinkler head; unguarded operating machine parts and no safety training for employees who are exposed to high noise levels.

“These conditions exposed employees to possible hearing loss, broken bones, lacerations, amputation, fire, eye injuries and being unable to exit the workplace swiftly and safely in the event of emergency,” said Kay Gee, OSHA Area Director for Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn. “The repeated nature of several of these violations is disturbing and unacceptable.”

On its website, Juniper Elbow — also known as Juniper Industries — describes itself as being “America’s largest independent manufacturer of Navy standard watertight closures and closure components.” Its products include watertight, weatherproof and ballistic doors; hatches; scuttles; and manholes.

When contacted by the Ridgewood Times, a Juniper Elbow representative declined to comment on the matter.


Business owners get help after Sandy

| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

With some of their shops damaged or destroyed by Superstorm Sandy and unsure where to go for help, business owners were finally able to find out what options are available to them.

Several agencies set up camp at Resorts World New York City on Friday, November 16 to help owners of south Queens get the money they need to reopen. They included New York Business Solutions, the Department of Labor, and the Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) also had a table at the forum and had a list of relief options available to proprietors. Mark Randle, a public information officer for the SBA, said that there were several loan options available at rates as low as 1.69 percent with repayment periods as long as 30 years.

Randle encouraged those who lost some or most of their business to apply. Business owners become eligible for more grants by applying for an SBA loan, he said.

“I can’t urge you strongly enough to go through the process and apply,” he said.

And while many shops and businesses were damaged by Sandy, others may have suffered only economic damage because power had been shut off. SBA has working capital loans for business owners to accommodate these needs.

The deadline to apply to these SBA loans is 60 days after the storm struck the area.

Nicola Campbell, who opened her restaurant, Chef Mom Grill & Bakery in the Rockaways less than a year ago, had a significant amount of damage because of the storm. A wall in the eatery was severely damaged, Campbell said, and most of the equipment in the restaurant had been destroyed.

The single mom of three said she didn’t have flood insurance, only general liability insurance on the restaurant. Because she had been open for less than a year, she thought she had few loan alternatives. But after sitting down with an SBA representative, Campbell had a few options to get her business back up and running.

“As soon as I get home, I will be on top of this because I really do need it,” she said. “This is my only income.”

And although there is a long road ahead for many business owners, some were reassured that there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.

Harry Wells, director of CUNY York’s Small Business Development Center and the panel’s moderator, told owners that, while things may seem bad right now, there are possibilities and there is promise down the road.

“I’m not trying to belittle the situation,” he said. “But a lot of the times, there’s gold at the end of the rainbow.”

Queens’ Morning Roundup

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Transgender Community Speaks Out Against Stop-And-Frisk

Members of the transgender community gathered in Queens Thursday to raise awareness of the abuse they can suffer during stop-and-frisks. Make the Road NY officials say the 115th Precinct, which polices Jackson Heights with the 110th Precinct, has the third-highest rate of stops in the city. Read more: [NY1]

Ex-Coast Guard member sent to jail for executive-style murder of a childhood friend

A former member of the US Coast Guard was dishonorably discharged — to prison — by a Queens judge for the executive-style murder of a childhood friend. Read more: [New York Post]

Korean-speaking man busted for charging immigrants to translate at Elmhurst Hospital 

A Korean-speaking swindler was busted at a Queens hospital after he reportedly tried to fleece non-English speaking immigrants, hospital officials said. The man had been repeatedly spotted offering to translate between staff at Elmhurst Hospital Center and Korean speakers for a $240 fee, said hospital spokesman Dario Centorcelli. Read more: [New York Daily News]

Police Search For Queens, Brooklyn Business Robber

The NYPD is asking for help finding the armed man they accuse of robbing several businesses in Queens and Brooklyn last month. Read more: [NY1]

Outpouring of donations for Rockaway family who lost son 

Tammy Benitez thought her son could beat the odds. Christian Benitez, a precocious teenager who dreamed of serving in the military, suffered since birth from numerous heart defects but never let it hamper his blossoming social life. Read more: [New York Daily News]

Department Of Labor Holds Job Fair At York College

As part of Governor Cuomo’s NY Works program to put New Yorkers back to work, the New York State Department of Labor hosted a job fair at York College Thursday. Watch video: [NY1]

Hundreds camp out for 50 union jobs

| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

People walking along 32nd Avenue in Woodside last week may have thought they stumbled upon an Occupy Wall Street demonstration, or that the “Dark Knight Rises” had been released months in advance.

Instead, roughly 600 people were camped out – many of them for a week – in the hopes of receiving an application to join the apprenticeship program of Local 46 of the Metallic Lathers and Reinforcing Ironworkers Union.

A line began forming in front of the union’s offices, located at 61-02 32nd Avenue in Woodside, on April 24 and grew exponentially, according to Bill Hohlfeld, coordinator of the labor management cooperative trust for Local 46. The gathering lasted until the morning of April 30, when 500 applications were handed out for the apprenticeship program on a first-come, first-served basis.

Despite the painstakingly-long hours many on line waited for their application, only 50 people will be chosen to join the program at this time.

“Nobody told people to come that early. People just didn’t want to risk not getting an application so they chose to do that. It is very competitive,” Hohlfeld said. “There are 50 initial positions opening, but [this list of applicants] is active for two years. Anytime during those two years, people can be chosen if spots open up.”

Those fortunate enough to receive applications will then take a manual dexterity test and a written exam dealing with basic mechanical aptitude and special relations – both given by the Department of Labor. Personal interviews will also be conducted by the joint apprenticeship committee of Local 46, and all applicants will have to pass a drug test.

Candidates will be chosen based on a combination of all factors, with final decisions made by the joint apprenticeship committee.

Despite the size and length of the campout, Hohlfeld says there were “no altercations or problems” during the week and grievances from the public “weren’t anything overwhelming.”

Local 46 provided campers with food, water and toilet facilities in an attempt to keep the strenuous situation as pleasant as possible.

“I thought that for the most part, the vast majority – with very few exceptions – were very well behaved. They pretty much complied with whatever we requested they do,” he said. “They were just people looking for an opportunity to better themselves.”

Tax credit to create jobs for youth

| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Businesses now have a $25 million incentive to hire and train at-risk or disadvantaged youth, thanks to the new youth tax credit signed into law by the governor and legislature early this December.

“In our current economic climate, it is very important that our young people have opportunities to gain valuable work experience to prepare for the future and, in many cases, provide for their families,” said Assemblymember Mike Miller.

The assembly’s legislation grants a tax break to companies in the clean energy, health care, advanced manufacturing and conservation fields that hire at-risk or disadvantaged youths between the ages of 16 and 24 during the first six months of 2012.

The companies will be eligible to receive up to $3,000 during the six-month training period for the new hires and could earn an extra $1,000 if they retain these new employees for an additional six months after the training has ended.

The tax credit program will be administered by the Department of Labor, with employment beginning before July 1, 2012.

Additionally, the state will provide $12 million in grants for critical job programs for inner-city youths. These grants will aid in youth-employment readiness training, occupational training, workplace mentoring and job placement. Participating youths will receive a $300 stipend per month to help with the costs faced when trying to enter the job market.

The legislation will also provide the Summer Youth Employment Program, which provides summer employment and educational experiences that enable youth to acquire skills, earn an income and work toward meeting their occupational goals.

“It is vitally important that we take steps now to make sure that the future of our state is in good hands,” Miller said. “This new legislation will provide our young people with the proper job training to make sure that the future is bright.”