So, we’re most of the way through the season and I thought I’d give y’all an update.
Beltwide Cotton Conference
The Beltwide Cotton Conference is just a couple weeks away now and many of the National Cotton Ginners Association committees will be meeting. Ginners from across the country will be at the meeting to discuss various issues facing ginners. It is a time to share between the association members on the various concerns they have and how they are facing them. Our members and staff will be attending these committee meetings. Also there are various technical sessions scheduled to take place and these are an excellent place to learn about new technologies and updates on various research projects. BELTWIDE COTTON CONFERENCE
Southern Southeastern Annual Meeting
The Southern Southeastern Annual Meeting is just a week after the Beltwide. If you can’t make the Beltwide, make sure you come to Savannah for the Southern Southeastern Meeting. The is something for everyone. Registration can be found at www.southern-southeastern.org/meetings/annualmeeting.html . We hope to see you there.
We have certainly seen better years and we’ve seen worse years in safety. I’m not sure if we’re getting notified about more (we like to get notified on injuries) or if we’ve had more but it seems that the number of accidents has increased this year. We’ve certainly seen a number of accidents that required notification of OSHA. Because of the nature of these calls, we’ve had a number of gins that have had OSHA inspections this fall. Remember, if you have a catastrophe (multiple people sent to the hospital), fatality, amputation (with our without bone loss, loss of an eye or, in-patient hospitalization, OSHA now requires notification. Whether or not it results in an on-site inspection seems somewhat random but nearly all of them this year have seen OSHA come to the gin.
Wage and Hour
The USDoL Wage and Hour division have been very very active this season. Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee have all had programmed inspections of gins this fall. These district office all have staff directed to report to Birmingham on their gin findings. As far as we know none of these investigations (at least 20 in the Southeast) have come to a completion. In conversations with Birmingham Wage and Hour staff, most investigations are finding violations with most being fairly minor. Things such as not providing a WH-516 disclosure and not paying overtime on bonuses are just a couple of the issues they’re finding. Housing condition violations are also being found in all states where these investigations are being conducted. If you got an audit from Wage and Hour, please let us know. Gins are fairly unique and are not the norm for these investigators. We may be able to help sort through the chaos.
Good Luck with the rest of the season. We’ll have Dues Invoices going out next week or so for those that are done and want to pay them in 2019. If you’re not done, don’t worry about it and pay when you’re done with ginning. If you know a ginner that’s not a member, encourage them to become a member.