Government

Category archives for Government

Last month, California’s Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) proposed revised and stronger regulations for oil refineries in the state after a 4½-year joint campaign by labor unions, environmental and community organizations.  The successful strategic coalition is a powerful example of how health and safety regulations can be improved despite an industry’s wealth, power and political influence.

In 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a report finding 457 fracking-related spills in eight states between 2006 and 2012. Last month, a new study tallied more than 6,600 fracking spills in just four states between 2005 and 2014. But, as usual, the numbers only tell part of the story.

Occupational Health News Roundup

Navy shipbuilders get lucrative contracts despite worker safety violations; Baltimore airport executive cited in worker retaliation case; thousands of California workers have potentially harmful blood lead levels; and immigrant workers lose their jobs after joining national protests.

Pruitt in, Puzder out, Acosta waiting in the wings

At the end of President Trump’s fourth week in office, Scott Pruitt was narrowly confirmed as EPA administrator, a fast-food mogul withdrew as Labor Secretary nominee, and a labor and civil rights lawyer was named as Trump’s second choice for the Labor Department position.

Fewer economic opportunities may be exposing black and Hispanic workers to an increased risk of workplace injury, according to a new study.

Kleen Energy disaster anniversary, new worker safety bill introduced

Seven years ago this week, six workers were killed in a massive explosion at the site construction site for the Kleen Energy power plant in Middletown, CT. Congressman Joe Courtney (D-CT), along with Democratic colleagues from the House Education and the Workforce Committee, marked the occasion by introducing the Protecting America’s Workers Act.

The Trump Administration is gearing up to make Federal OSHA as under-resourced and ineffective as it can. Our strategic response has to be more than simply defending the status quo ante; we have to rebuild the social movement that was powerful enough 50 years ago to force another right-wing Republican president, Richard Nixon, to support and sign the OSH Act in the first place.

Work for an agency? Have something to leak?

Some federal employees are witnessing changes under the Trump Administration that they know are a really bad idea or could be illegal. NPR reporter Howard Berkes has set up two secure and encrypted means for agency employees to communicate with him.

Occupational Health News Roundup

Obama-era labor veterans worry about the future of worker protections; a draft Trump executive order would allow employers to discriminate based on their religious beliefs; coal miner rulings offer a look at the legal philosophy of Trump’s Supreme Court nominee; and Iowa Republicans move to gut union rights.

Not violating federal labor law seems like a commonsense precursor for being awarded lucrative federal contracts. House Republicans, however, disagree.