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NYCOSH Holds Call-In Days of Action to Congressional Reps During Workers Memorial Week: “Say No to OSHA Cuts, Protect Workplace Safety and Health!”

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CONTACT: Mónica Novoa, mnovoa@nycosh.org
Cell: 929-366-5320
Office: (212) 227-6440 ext. 14

 

New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH)
Holds Call-In Days of Action to Congressional Reps 
During Workers Memorial Week
“Say No to OSHA Cuts, Protect Workplace Safety and Health!”

New York, New York – The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) is holding member call-in days on Wednesday, April 26th and Thursday, April 27th to representatives in the New York State Congressional Delegation with the message, “Say No to OSHA Cuts, Protect Workplace Safety and Health.” NYCOSH, its members and allies want to stop OSHA cuts in the federal budget which is due to be passed on Friday April 28th – Workers Memorial Day. The proposed Trump Administration budget amounts to 21 percent cuts to the Department of Labor, which experts and advocates say translates to less training and oversight and more illness, injury and workplace deaths.(1)

NYCOSH members and community can look up their Senators and Representatives in Congress at http://whoismyrepresentative.com/ with a zip code search and use the following script to call:

The federal budget is due April 28th at 11:59 p.m. we need you as our elected officials in congress to know we care about safety and health at work.  You must stop proposed OSHA cuts which will mean less training and oversight and more illness, injury and workplace deaths. Our lives depend on OSHA worker protections. Our families, loved ones, and communities are counting on you to protect our lives and limbs.

“We need our members of Congress to make workplace safety and health a priority as they work to finalize this budget,” said NYCOSH’s executive director Charlene Obernauer. “Cuts to OSHA would set us back decades in guaranteeing vital public protections to workers and businesses that care about their employees.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 236 workers died on the job from occupational fatalities in New York in 2015. Nationwide, the death toll from occupational fatalities is more than 4,500 workers every year, and an estimated 95,000 U.S. workers die from long-term occupational illnesses. Millions more are injured after exposure to preventable safety hazards. The cost to U.S. employers for workers’ compensation alone was $91.8 billion in 2014, representing a fraction of the total cost of workplace deaths injuries and illnesses.

The Trump Administration has proposed the elimination of funding for worker safety and health training programs (Susan Harwood grants); the administration’s plan also eliminates grants that go toward training for workers with disabilities.(2) According to advocates, public protections related to workplace safety and health must be maintained to support workers, consumers, responsible businesses and public health overall.

  • NYCOSH members have been tracking attacks on public protections that will impact workers, so far this year:
    The Trump Administration has proposed slashing the budget for worker safety.(3)
  • The Trump Administration has aggressively stepped up immigration enforcement, threatening immigration raids(4) at workplaces, which makes workers less likely to report unsafe working conditions and exploitation on the job.
  • The Trump Administration issued an Executive Order stating that for every one regulation the executive branch proposes, two must be identified to repeal. Spending on new regulations for 2017 is also capped at $0. (5)
  • The Trump Administration issued an Executive Order stating that all agencies directed to review existing rules to determine those burdensome on business or too costly, and to propose rules for elimination, weakening public protections. (6)
  • The Trump Administration has proposed the complete elimination of the Chemical Safety Board. (7)
  • President Trump signed legislation to rollback the OSHA record-keeping rule that will in effect make it easier for unscrupulous companies to misinterpret or cover up injury data and conceal ongoing hazards from regulators. (8)
  • President Trump revoked the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order from the Obama era. The order required federal contractors to heed 14 labor and civil rights laws that covered: protecting parental leave; weeding out discrimination against women and protected classes; ensuring equal pay for women; fair processes surrounding workplace sexual harassment allegations; ensuring federal contractors provide all employees with detailed statements of their hours and compensation, protecting workers against wage theft.
  • Labor Secretary Nominee Acosta’s recent remarks have also been worrisome. According to Politico, “Acosta declined to answer Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) when she asked whether he would keep a Labor Department regulation that drastically reduced workers’ exposure to crystalline silica dust, which kills more workers on an annualized basis than die in coal mine [accidental] deaths in coal mines. Citing Trump’s directive to review regulations, Acosta told senators he “[could not] make a commitment” to preserving the rule, which was four decades in the making.” (9)
  • The Administration’s federal hiring freeze has left OSHA with only 66 inspectors in New York State – decreased inspections leads to increased workplace injuries.

Last month NYCOSH joined a nationwide campaign to advance an action agenda for workplace safety. “Protecting Workers’ Lives and Limbs,” convened by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, which has been endorsed by 92 groups across the country, including NYCOSH.

To cap Workers Memorial Week, NYCOSH, the NYC Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, Build Up NYC, Local 2507, and labor partners will host a Day of Action to remember workers killed on the job in the last year, and recommit to fighting for better safety training and working conditions.

Workers Memorial Day of Action Events:

7:00 am at Queens Plaza North & 29th Street near the intersection of Queens Blvd & Northern Blvd – Construction and building service workers will gather to commemorate those we have lost and work to create safer working conditions across industries.

11:30 am at DC 37, AFSCME on the corner of Murray St and West St – Workers will gather to highlight issues faced by our first responders and front line MTA workers. The event will include a reading of the names of all workers who have died at work over the last year, special dedication to EMT Yadira Arroyo, who was killed on the job on March 16th.

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(1) What Slashing the Labor Department Budget by 21 Percent Would Mean. 3/24/17. http://bit.ly/2nQKLOv
(2) Trump Budget Would Slash Worker Training And Safety. The Huffington Post. 3/16/17. http://huff.to/2m5QCPi
(3) Trump Skinny Budget Will Be Short on Details, But Troubling Fiscal Agenda Is Emerging. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. 3/15/17. http://bit.ly/2ncfhS4
(4) Federal agents conduct immigration enforcement raids in at least six states. The Washington Post. 2/11/17. http://wapo.st/2oYHlYZ
(5) Trump has already signed 66 executive actions – here’s what each one does. Business Insider. 4/19/17. http://read.bi/2pWWGrF
(6) Trump Orders Agencies To Reduce Regulations. NPR. 2/24/17. http://n.pr/2oEcddX
(7) Trump’s proposal to scrap Chemical Safety Board draws criticism. Reuters. 3/17/17. http://reut.rs/2pdHxnU
(8) Trump Signs Bill Making It Easier For Employers To Hide Workplace Injuries. 4/4/17. http://huff.to/2nHf4TN
(9) Labor nominee Acosta: Trump is the boss. Politico. 3/22/17. http://politi.co/2mVO7v8

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