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This newsletter highlights events and programs offered through the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

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Holloway America joins SHARP Association

Holloway America joins SHARP AssociationSpringfield-based Holloway America is the newest member of Missouri’s Safety and Health Achievement and Recognition Program, and the company has found improving their safety program has paid off in many ways.

“We’re safe and we can prove it,” Holloway America Safety Director Kevin Mau said of the new designation. “It’s something to be proud of.”

SHARP honors small businesses that operate effective safety and health management programs in Missouri.

The company makes stainless steel pressure vessels and tanks, tank components and custom engineered equipment, and its workers are exposed to hazards in the process. Sharp cutting edges, working from heights and machine shop guarding are a few things employees and management are concerned with.

“First, it’s important that our employees are staying safe,” Mau said. “We’re a family here. We don’t want to see family impacted negatively.”

Mau said the On Site program proved to help Holloway America keep its employees safe by guiding management in implementing safety practices and helping to change the workplace culture.

The On-Site Safety and Health Consultation Program is designed for businesses in high hazard industries. During the consultation, there is a mock OSHA-type inspection. The results of this inspection are confidential and are not shared with OSHA. The findings are meant to help identify and correct hazards without imposing costly fines, resulting in safer workplaces for employees and better bottom lines for the company.

Since starting the program, Holloway America has seen a drastic reduction in workplace injuries.

Mau estimated that Holloway America’s costs related to on-the-job injuries have decreased by approximately 85 percent since the company’s involvement with Missouri’s On Site Safety and Health Consultation Program—the first step toward earning SHARP designation.

In addition to a drastic reduction in costs, Mau says some of the biggest changes brought about through SHARP are a shift in the culture and an increase in efficiency.
“If everyone is safe, everything will work as it should, and the company as a whole is more efficient,” he said.

Holloway America was honored for its accomplishment in earning SHARP status Jan. 21 at the company’s Springfield manufacturing plant. To learn more about the company or its SHARP induction, watch this video.

In addition to providing recognition for committing to create a safe workplace, SHARP members are excluded from routine OSHA inspections for one to three years, saving the business time and money in potential fines.

To participate in SHARP, a business must have 250 employees or less at one location and less than 500 employees corporation wide.

If you are interested in taking the first steps toward becoming a SHARP company or would like assistance making your company a safer place to work, call 573-522-SAFE or complete the online application to schedule an On-Site Safety and Health consultation.

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A Window to Black History

A Window to Black HistoryEach February since 1976 Missourians celebrate the achievements of black Americans and give tribute to the distinct history of their ancestors, but few Missourians have had a front seat to recent history like that of 80-year-old St. Louisian Percy Green II.

Percy Green II
Percy Green II

Green’s activism started on a whim in the early 60s when he decided to join a protest fighting against a bank that moved from a predominantly black neighborhood to a predominantly white neighborhood a few blocks away and did not retain any African American employees.

This protest marked the beginning of Green’s passion for fighting against discriminatory hiring practices as he believes a lack a suitable employment opportunities is at the heart of many issues.

“It all centers around jobs, around economics. If we had the economics, all the other things would have fallen into place,” Green said. “They would have been able to provide for their families and take care of their wives.”

Green’s next act of civil disobedience was much more highly publicized and, unbeknownst to him, would shape much of his life thereafter.

Green discovered that in the large work crew constructing the iconic Gateway Arch there was not one man of color and, after speaking with the construction company president to no avail, decided to do something about it.

“We were going to use the most effective tool we had,” he said, “which was non-violence.”

He and a small group of people working closely with him studied the arch grounds for several days trying to determine a way to gain access and disrupt construction.

Finally, he, along with Richard Daly, a co-worker of his wife’s, in July 1964, snuck onto the grounds while most of the workers were out on lunch and climbed a ladder up 125 feet of the existing 300 feet of the monument. Other members of Green’s group helped create a diversion while the pair climbed by setting up a picket line at the nearby historic courthouse.

The group demanded people of color be employed in the construction of the Arch, and their demands were met.

After sitting on that construction ladder for five hours, both men came down and were arrested. Green arranged for a bondsman ahead of time, and was released from police custody in time to arrive at the start of his shift at McDonnell Douglas that evening.

Just 30 days later, Green was laid off.

While the company maintained that Green was let go because of insufficient work available, Green suspected it was retaliation for his involvement in the civil rights movement. One year after his dismissal, Green said he applied for a mechanic position advertised by McDonnell Douglas. He was not offered the job despite being qualified.

Green filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and that complaint resulted in a landmark Supreme Court case that would define what constituted discrimination in employment practices nationwide.

In the years since, Green continued to lead many civil disobedience demonstrations both as the leader of ACTION and as an individual.

He says one of his proudest accomplishments is his work surrounding the secret society of the Veiled Prophet in St. Louis and how the group contributed to class divisions.

He considers himself unchanged by his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, and has no regrets.

“I don’t see anything that I would have done differently,” Green said. “I still feel very strongly that civil disobedience was the right thing to do.”

Learn more about other black Missourians and Americans who helped shape our history and our communities by attending an event celebrating Black History Month.

The Missouri Commission on Human Rights’s aims to foster mutual understanding and eliminate discrimination through education, outreach and enforcement of the Missouri Human Rights Act. MCHR investigates complaints of discrimination in housing, employment, and places of public accommodations because of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, disability, age (in employment only) and familial status (in housing only). If you believe you were discriminated against on the basis of one of these protected categories, contact the MCHR at 877-781-4236 or take this assessment to determine if the MHRA applies to your situation.

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Unemployment Benefits are Taxable

Unemployment Benefits are TaxableThose who claimed unemployment benefits in 2014 need to file a federal 1099-G Form. The 1099-G Form reports the payments received during the calendar year for federal income tax returns. If you had taxes withheld from your claim and did not receive a Form 1099-G in the mail, you may access the form online.
While claiming unemployment, you can choose to have the DES withhold 10 percent of your weekly benefits for federal income tax. If you choose not to have the DES withhold your taxes, you must submit the tax amount at the end of the year.

You must authorize the DES to request or change federal tax withholding from benefit payments by filling out the Authorization for Federal Income Tax Withholding from Unemployment Benefits form. You can change your withholding information at any time. The changes are effective the week your authorization is received.

If you have questions about the 1099-G Form, e-mail us at esuiclaims@labor.mo.gov.

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