United Steelworkers of America President Leo W. Gerard is put out — OSHA and several steel industry trade associations have formed an alliance on safety without any union involvement.

"OSHA and the industry both need help," Gerard said in a statement, "but they're not going to find it from each other. The trade associations have opposed every OSHA standard that applies to the steel industry. So far as we know, they have no full-time professional safety staff. And OSHA's only recent activity in the industry was to propose a weakening of the Coke Oven Standard."

"Meanwhile, many steel companies have made deep cuts in their own safety and health staff," Gerard said. "At this point, most large steel plants have more full-time union safety representatives than management safety personnel. And the union has a bigger headquarters safety and health staff than most or all steel companies."

"If they were really interested in safety, they would have turned to the men and women who make these plants run," Gerard said. "Apparently, OSHA's political bosses and the industry trade associations are more anti-union than they are pro-safety."

"I want to make it clear that our criticism applies to the political appointees running OSHA," Gerard said. "The dedicated career inspectors in the field had no part in this charade. They know who their allies are."

The new alliance involves OSHA, the American Iron and Steel Institute, the Steel Manufacturers Association and the Specialty Steel Industry of North America.