November 30, 2015

St. Louis area workers participate in nationwide strike for higher wages and union rights

Some fast food, home health and childcare workers nationwide went on strike today, including in the St. Louis area, to protest for higher wages and union rights. Demonstrators are calling for a $15 an hour minimum wage.

Workers rally for higher wages and union rights

Workers rally for higher wages and union rights

Frances Holmes makes $9 an hour at a McDonald’s in the St. Louis area.

“Some days I don’t eat because I can’t afford food. When I pay my rent, sometimes I have about $11 left,” said Holmes. “This month, I had to borrow a dollar to pay my rent. I live in a boarding house. It’s very difficult, but I can’t afford a one bedroom apartment.”

Holmes said there’s no middle class.

“It’s rich people and poor people,” said Holmes.

Many cities, including Kansas City and St. Louis, have considered proposals to raise the minimum wage. During the Legislature’s veto session in September, lawmakers voted to overturn Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of a bill that tells cities they can’t set a greater minimum wage than the state.

Today’s demonstrations included a rally at City Hall in St. Louis.

St. Louis is one of 500 cities throughout the country participating in today’s protests.

Brad Tregnago of KSSZ contributed to this story.

Missouri drilling contractor faces penalties in fatal construction accident in Nebraska

Federal regulators propose a Missouri drilling contractor pay nearly $15,000 in fines for safety violations which led to the death of a construction worker in Lincoln.

OSHA logo 142-year-old Michael Snider of Sedalia, Missouri was killed when struck on the head by an 80-foot piece of rebar that fell 130 feet from a crane.

Snider was working for CBS Piling Solutions of Riverside, Missouri, drilling foundation holes for a student housing project under construction near the University of Nebraska-Lincoln downtown campus when the accident occurred on June 24th.

OSHA cited CBS for three serious safety violations in the incident:  the improper rigging of the load, failing to adequately train workers, and failing to remove non-essential employees from an area using cranes.

“Deaths like this, which are entirely preventable, happen all too often in the construction industry – and they have tragic consequences not just for the workers but for their families and communities,” Jeff Funke, OSHA’s area director in Omaha, said in a written statement released by OSHA. “Employers must train workers about these hazards and ensure only qualified riggers are attaching crane loads for over-head operations.”

Co-workers came to Snider’s aid, attempting CPR to revive him. Snider died before paramedics could arrive.

Brent Martin, Nebraska Radio Network, reports

GE selling billions in assets to Wells Fargo

General Electric has entered into a preliminary agreement to sell $30 billion in commercial lending and leasing businesses to Wells Fargo. The announcement comes some 6 months after the announcement was made by GE that it would sell-off that section of company, as it shifts it’s corporate focus back to manufacturing. The tentative sale agreement involves an estimated $200 billion in assets from the company’s GE Capital financing division.

General Electric

General Electric

It is expected that Wells Fargo will retain all leadership, employees and locations of GE Capital, including the approximately 100 workers at the Moberly, Missouri location.

The division serves customers in 60 countries by providing financing to fund flow of durable goods from manufacturers to dealers in the marine, recreational vehicle, motor sports and other industries.

The transaction also includes GE Capital Vendor Finance, a provider of private label and co-branded programs for U.S. and Canadian original equipment manufacturers, dealers and end users in office imaging, construction, material handling and technology.

Dan Patterson of KRES contributed to this story.

Attorney General: 263K Missourians possibly hit by T-Mobile, Experian breach

As many as 263,000 Missourians who applied for services from T-Mobile and who applied for credit through Experian could have had personal data compromised in a breach, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

T-Mobile and Experian breech biggerSomeone accessed T-Mobile’s data housed on an Experian server that included consumer information. Consumers who applied for T-Mobile USA postpaid services between September 1, 2013 and September 1, 2015 were affected.

Consumers’ names, addresses, social security numbers, dates of birth, identification numbers (usually a driver’s license number, military ID, or passport number) and other information used in T-Mobile credit assessments could be accessed in the breach.

Attorney General Chris Koster recommends affected consumers register for a credit freeze with all major credit reporting agencies as a precaution. That could prevent scammers from taking out a line of credit using information obtained in the breach. The freeze can be lifted at any time. Experian has said it will offer a credit freeze to affected consumers at no cost. Koster’s office offers information about credit freezes here.

Consumers could also place a fraud alert on their file with all three credit reporting agencies. Information about that can be found here.

Experian and T-Mobile are offering affected consumers two years of credit monitoring and identity protection services free.

Missouri Attorney General: Walgreens still overcharging customers with old tags

Missouri’s attorney general says Walgreens stores are still displaying expired price tags, and that’s causing customers to be overcharged when they check out.

A Walgreens store (courtesy;

A Walgreens store (courtesy;

Chris Koster has filed a motion for contempt against the Illinois-based pharmacy chain saying its stores routinely display expired tags despite its promise to change that practice. That promise was part of a court settlement it agreed last year, after Koster’s office sued Walgreens over expired tags. Under that agreement, Walgreens said it would remove tags within 12 hours of their expiration.

Koster said his investigators visited 50 Walgreens stores in Missouri between July 26 and September 1 and found more than 1,300 tags displayed past their expiration date. Two expired in 2013.

Walgreens already paid $136,500 for pricing violations discovered in regular, independent audits required under court order. Koster today has asked the Jackson County judge to fine the company up to $5,000 for every expired tag found in recent inspections, plus a penalty for each day expired tags are found in a store.

Koster said under the 2014 court order, a consumer who is overcharged for something that costs $5 or less will receive that item free. Someone overcharged for an item that costs more than $5 will receive a $10 Walgreens gift card and can purchase the item for the lowest advertised price.