The New York Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) has published a special edition of itsSafety Rep newsletter titled, “After 8 Years of Bush: Can OSHA be fixed? What must be done.” The 20-page newsletter presents priorities, initiatives, and policies “to restore the nation’s commitment to protecting working people from life-threatening job hazards,” according to the newsletter’s introduction.
The election of Barack Obama with expanded Democratic majorities in the House
and Senate provides a unique opportunity to reset OSHA priorities, according to NYCOSH.
“Two points emerge clearly from the respondents. First, the health and safety of workers
is tied directly to the strength of the labor movement. To realize our agenda, the growth
of union membership is crucial. Therefore, the first and foremost condition for change is
the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which would address the abusive,
intimidating, and illegal tactics employers use to keep workers from exercising their legal
right to organize.
“Second, none of the reforms advocated by any of the contributors to this issue will be
enacted without a struggle.And winning reforms will require the active involvement and
mobilization of working people, building broad-based coalitions with environmental, public health, immigrant and community-based organizations. The fight will not be easy, but for the first time in a long time, the possibilities of moving our agenda forward appear real,” states the newsletter.
Among those contributing their recommendations are Richard Trumka, secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO; Randi Weingarten, president, American Federation of Teachers; Eric Frumin, director of occupational safety and health, UNITE HERE; Bill Borwegen, director, occupational safety and health, Service Employees International Union; David Michaels, director, The Project on Scientific Knowledge and Public Policy; Jordan Barab, senior labor policy advisor, U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor; Frank Mirer, professor, CUNY; and Michael Silverstein, professor, University of Washington.