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Jury awards man $7.5M after being injured by Walmart watermelon display

Published: Friday, November 10, 2017 @ 12:34 PM

File image of watermelons.
File image of watermelons.(Pixabay)

An Alabama man has been awarded $7.5 million by a jury after he said he tripped and broke his hip while shopping for a watermelon at Walmart.

The verdict was rendered Wednesday in a Phenix City courtroom, The Associated Press reported. The jury awarded $2.5 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. 

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Henry Walker, 61, sued Walmart for the 2015 incident in which he claimed the store was negligent for failing to cover a pallet beneath the watermelon display. His foot became tangled in the pallet, causing him to trip and break his hip, according to court documents.

Walmart officials insist that the watermelon displays are safe, and its stores continue to use the pre-packaged displays from producers.

Walmart plans on appealing the decision, The Associated Press reported.

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Henny Penny employees package 34K meals for Foodbank

Published: Sunday, March 18, 2018 @ 12:26 PM


Employees at Henny Penny Corp. in Eaton packaged 34,000 meals on Friday for distribution by the Foodbank of Dayton.

During the “Meal Madness” event, 220 Henny Penny volunteers processed 5,500 pounds of bulk macaroni and cheese on 17 assembly lines to create the ,652 meal bags, each containing six pre-portioned servings. Each line produced around 2,000 meals, according to the company

Foodbank of Dayton will distribute the meals to food pantries throughout Miami Valley – Preble, Montgomery and Greene counties.

Workers at Eaton’s Henny Penny make high-pressure fryers for the fast-food and restaurant industry. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

“Food is our business and our passion,” said Lester Wilder, customer quality analyst at Henny Penny, which designs and manufactures equipment for the foodservice industry, with household-name clients including Wendy’s and McDonald’s. “The Meal Madness event is one of the ways we support our neighbors and our community.”

Thecompany used the frenzied annual basketball tournament as a way to inject fun and timeliness into the serious business of feeding hungry families, said Wilder, who is leading the Meal Madness planning team for his Capstone class at Ohio University.

Henny Penny worked with The Outreach Program, which organizes food-packaging events, and followed the nonprofit’s exacting protocols to pull off the feat.

Foodbank of Dayton, which distributed more than 11 million pounds of food in 2017, says approximately 124,000 people in Preble, Montgomery and Greene counties report food insecurity. The premade, easy-to-prepare food packs are especially useful for working poor families with children and seniors, the organization said.


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This Dayton industry is increasing starting pay, salaries to attract workers

Published: Sunday, March 18, 2018 @ 10:50 AM

            Steve Staub, co-owner of Staub Manufacturing Solutions in Harrison Twp., says he’s paying starting employees more than ever. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF
            Thomas Gnau/Staff
Steve Staub, co-owner of Staub Manufacturing Solutions in Harrison Twp., says he’s paying starting employees more than ever. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF(Thomas Gnau/Staff)

Manufacturing once was a reliable path to a middle-class life, even for workers without college degrees. That path is far less certain today thanks to automation, global trade, weakening unions and more.

But manufacturing still yields a pay “premium” compared to other industries that draw from the same pool of workers — retail, restaurants and hospitality — and starting pay in the region has increased in recent years.

“It’s true,” said Steve Staub, co-owner of Staub’s Manufacturing Solutions in Harrison Twp. “We pay more than we used to.”

A recently released study questions whether workers hired through temp-for-hire and staffing agencies is shrinking that premium. According to the study by the liberal-leaning Economic Policy Institute, since 1990 real wages for production workers have risen by only 0.1 percent annually.


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The research points to government data that estimates there are about 1.2 million temporary workers in manufacturing. And nearly one-third of all manufacturing production workers rely on food stamps or other government help “to make ends meet,” the paper says.

But those familiar with manufacturing in Southwest Ohio have a different take. They say the community’s need for qualified workers pushes starting pay up.

Manufacturers in the region are forced to nudge starting pay upward to draw the best applicants, said Staub and Angelia Erbaugh, executive director of the Dayton Region Manufacturers Association.

“Wages are going up because of supply and demand,” Erbaugh said.

Erbaugh said she she has seen starting wages in area manufacturing rise from a range of about $8 to $10 an hour to closer to $11 to $14 an hour today.

Less than a year ago, one of the area’s fastest growing manufacturers, auto glass producer Fuyao Glass America, gave all of its Moraine production associates a $2 hourly raise. This was in the midst of a representation campaign waged by the United Auto Workers, who later lost an election to form a bargaining unit at Fuyao.

The demand for workers “is not lessening at all,” Erbaugh said.

“It’s still their (employers’) No. 1 concern,” she said. “Every meeting, every gathering, that’s always a top concern.”

Doug Barry, owner of Dayton staffing firm Barry Staff, said companies are competing for the right applicants.

“We see companies doing sign-on bonuses for entry-level people right now,” Barry said.

The problem is “a region-wide shortage of workers,” he said.

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“This is causing an underemployment problem,” Barry said. There aren’t enough qualified people for the openings manufacturers have. Employers want to promote workers, but they can’t backfill the positions with younger people, he said.

“We don’t have any (manufacturing) companies that pay minimum wage … I would say our unwritten minimum wage right now is probably $10, if not a little higher.”

Tom Maher, owner of the Dayton Manpower Group office, said area manufacturers are competing with logistics and distribution employers for the same type of worker.

Employers also watch as their workers move on for even a small boost in pay, he said.

“People will jump jobs for a relatively small amount of money, as little as 25 cents an hour,” Maher said.

Maher said a manufacturing pay premium remains, even if it isn’t as strong as it was in the 1970s and 1980s. “There’s certainly a premium over anything like retail and fast food and anything of that nature,” he said.

Lawrence Mishel, author of the EPI paper, said manufacturing continues to pay better than other sectors with comparable workers at the same age and education level — about 13 percent more in wages and benefits compared to non-manufacturing jobs.

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But that manufacturing pay premium was closer to 19 percent in the 1980s, he said.

Some places, especially auto plants in the South, use temp agencies essentially as outside HR firms. Workers there can earn a third less compared to other employees, Mishel said.

“Manufacturing still pays more than others but we have to still be worried about the quality of manufacturing jobs,” Mishel said.

But Erbaugh said Dayton manufacturers don’t use a lot of “temporary” workers. She said they do rely on staffing agencies as a way to “screen” applicants, for help in finding people who will be a good fit at their companies.

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Teradata CEO makes 137 times as much as his employee median

Published: Sunday, March 18, 2018 @ 10:34 AM

Teradata’s Miami Twp. offices.
Teradata’s Miami Twp. offices.

The median pay of Teradata Corp. employees for the 2017 fiscal year was $77,565, according to the company’s new proxy statement.

Victor Lund, president and chief executive of Teradata, makes 137 times that much, the statement also said.

Big data company Teradata, which has administrative offices in Miami Twp., revealed the CEO-employee pay ratio in its proxy statement, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission this week.

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Publicly-traded U.S. companies like Teradata are required to pull back the curtain on the pay difference between top executives and their workers. Sometimes those pay differences can be quite stark. AT&T’s workers saw a median salary of $78,437 last year, and Randall Stephenson, that company’s CEO, earned 366 times as much as his employees, the Dallas Morning News recently reported.

The pay ratio disclosure requirement is one of the transparency measures embedded in the post-financial crisis Dodd-Frank legislation in 2010.

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Lund received a total annual compensation of $10,604,646 in fiscal 2017, Teradata’s filing said.

“The ratio of the annual total compensation of our CEO to the median of the annual total compensation of all other employees was estimated to be 137 to 1,” its proxy says.

To determine total cash compensation, the local company used the sum of base wages and annual incentives payable in cash, Teradata said.

The company said it had total shareholder return of almost 42 percent last year,

Teradata has said it has about 400 Dayton-area employees.

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Johnsonville recalls 109K pounds of sausage after reports of plastic contamination

Published: Saturday, March 17, 2018 @ 2:32 PM

Johnsonville has recalled some of its smoked sausage products after reports of plastic contamination.
Johnsonville has recalled some of its smoked sausage products after reports of plastic contamination.(USDA)

A recall has been issued for a popular brand of sausage due to consumer reports that plastic pieces were found in the product.

Johnsonville, LLC issued a recall Thursday for 109,603 pounds of its smoked pork sausage, according to the United States Department of Agriculture news release.

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The fully-cooked Jalapeño Cheddar Smoked Sausage included in the recall was produced on Jan. 4, 2018, and bears an establishment number “EST. 34224” inside the USDA mark of inspection.

The recalled items were shipped to retail locations nationwide.

Johnsonville, LLC received three consumer complaints that pieces of hard, green plastic were found in the sausage product.

There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products, according to the USDA.

Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. The products should be discarded or returned to the place of purchase.

Consumers with questions about the recall can call or text Johnsonville Consumer Relations at 1-888-556-2728. 

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