The proposed 2018 budget released by the White House last week includes a 21 percent decrease in the Department of Labor’s budget – some of which will likely come from the elimination of OSHA’s training grants. That line item is expected to save almost $11 million from the 2017 annualized CR level.
The agency’s Susan Harwood training grants – which account for $10-11 million a year – could also be cut. The grants fund the creation of in-person, hands-on training and educational programs and the development of materials for workers and employers in small businesses; industries with high injury, illness and fatality rates; and vulnerable workers who are underserved, have limited English proficiency or are temporary workers. The program intends to help workers and employers identify and prevent workplace safety and health hazards.
Nonprofit organizations including community and faith-based organizations, employer associations, labor unions, joint labor/management associations, Indian tribes, and colleges and universities are eligible for the grants.
Republican lawmakers have criticized the Harwood program for awarding grants to labor unions – who are likely Democratic supporters. Such funding, they argue, amounts to allowing unions to use their dues for lobbying efforts instead of training programs.