The executive director of a California non-profit group advocating worker protection and justice has been nominated by Gov. Gavin Newsom to be the top administrator for California’s state-run worker safety agency, known as Cal/OSHA.
The choice of Doug Parker, who has served since 2016 as executive director of Worksafe Inc. in Oakland, was announced Aug. 15 by the governor’s office.
“I am honored that Governor Newsom and Secretary Su have placed their confidence in me to lead Cal/OSHA,” Parker said in a statement. “I'm also honored to have been part of an amazing team at Worksafe, contributing to important advances in worker safety and health in the state. I'm grateful to have been so warmly welcomed into California's worker health and safety advocacy community. This is a tremendous group deeply committed to working people.”
Before joining Worksafe, Parker was a deputy assistant secretary of labor at the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration in Washington from 2014 to 2015, and an MSHA senior policy advisor from 2009 to 2014. He was deeply involved in the agency’s response to the April 2010 Massey Energy/Upper Big Branch mine disaster.
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, with an annual budget of about $88 million, is the largest of the 28 state OSHA agencies.
From September 1997 to June 2000, Parker was a staff attorney for the United Mine Workers of America. Before becoming an attorney, Doug worked at the Democratic National Committee and for the late Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN) who was killed in a plane crash in 2002.
Parker has a JD from the University of Virginia Law School, and an undergraduate degree from James Madison University.
Worksafe is the only statewide worker advocacy nonprofit in California. Its goal is to increase health and safety protections for the state's workforce of more than 18 million people. Its mission is to protect people from job-related hazards and empower them to advocate for the right to a safe and healthy workplace.
Worksafe advocates for protective worker health and safety laws and effective remedies for people who are injured on the job or suffer work-related illness, and it promotes itself as a watchdog to ensure government agencies enforce these laws.
Worksafe provides leadership and coordination among labor unions, worker organizations, public health, and legal rights advocates in order to pass protective laws. The organization was founded in the late 1970s.