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Archives for November 2014

The 100th Woman in Congress

Katherine Neff

On Wednesday, November 12, 2014, Alma Adams became the 100th woman to serve in Congress.  While this is an important milestone for women, it took nearly 100 years, since 1917, to accomplish it.  And, although women make up approximately 50 percent of the population, women make up less than 20 percent of the members in Congress.
Of the 100 women in Congress, 32 are women of color, a record, including 18 African Americans, nine Latinas, and five Asian American-Pacific Islanders.
After this month’s election, between one and five women could be joining Representative Adams (four races with female candidates are still undecided).
For more information about these milestones, check out USA Today’s On Politics article by Catalina Camia.


Randy Freking is on Twitter @Frekingandbetz

Randy Freking

Follow Randy on Twitter for his latest news and commentary about current events that affect employees and employers.

His most recent posts are:

SCARY: Appeals court judges may not be random -Coalition Challenges Selection of Judges in Same-Sex Marriage Case. Read more in The New York Times article written by Adam Liptak.

Warren Buffett was right again: CEO pay climbing! CEOsMore Transparency, More Pay for C.E.O.s. See Dealbook’s article by Andrew Ross Sorkin.



General Motors Ignition-Switch Deaths Rise to 30

Mark Napier

General Motors in the past year has recalled 2.6 million vehicles for a potentially fatal ignition switch design. For over a decade, GM executives and engineers were well aware that several makes and models had this flaw. An ignition switch design enabled the ignition key to slip out of run-mode when jostled causing the key to slip into accessory-mode. When this happened, the engine would shut off, disabling power steering, power brakes, and air bags.

In February, 2014, General Motors informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that it was recalling the following vehicles because of this ignition switch design defect:

2005 to 2010 Chevrolet Cobalt
2007 to 2010 Pontiac G-5
2003 to 2007 Saturn Ion
2006 to 2011 Chevrolet HHR
2006 to 2010 Pontiac Solstice
2007 to 2010 Saturn Sky

The events leading to the recall is yet another example of how trial lawyers serve the public interest. This recall may never have happened unless Attorney Lance Cooper of Marietta, GA had reported this design defect to the NHTSA. Mr. Cooper learned of the defect through documents obtained from GM in litigation brought on behalf of parents whose daughter died when her 2005 Cobalt shut down, forcing her into oncoming traffic, where another vehicle struck her. Documents showed that GM had known about the deadly effects since at least 2004.

Within a few weeks, NHTSA’s inquiry had exposed a massive cover-up spanning more than a decade.  GM first acknowledged 13 deaths and 31 injuries, but since a victims compensation program was instituted in August, the program so far has approved 30 death claims and 61 injury claims. The program has received 1,580 claims for ignition switch related injuries.