JAN 14, 2010
To: SPEEA Council Members
From: SPEEA L&PA Committee
Subject: PRE-SUBMITTED NEW BUSINESS: Support PROTECTING AMERICA’S WORKERS Act in Congress
Each Day 16 Americans Are Killed Due to Poor Worker Safety Laws
"It is only a six month misdemeanor if [an employer] willfully commits a violation of worker safety laws. It is only considered a misdemeanor if a worker dies." David Uhlmann, Professor and Director of Environmental Law and Policy Programs at Michigan University.
"[The companies] consider OSHA a mosquito. They'd rather pay the fines than bring the plants into compliance [with the laws]. They think the law is so ineffective that it's more profitable for them to take the risk by not having safety programs in place than to comply with the law." Charles Jeffress, Former Assistant Secretary of Labor, OSHA
Protecting America's Workers Act – does the following:
1. Amends the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA) to expand its coverage to federal, state, and local government employees.
2. Authorizes the Secretary of Labor, under specified conditions, to cede OSHA jurisdiction to another federal agency with respect to certain occupational standards or regulations for such agency's employees.
3. Declares OSHA inapplicable to working conditions covered by the Federal Mine Safety and Heath Act of 1977.
4. Sets forth increased protections for whistle blowers under OSHA.
5. Sets forth provisions relating to:
(i) the posting of employee rights;
(ii) a prohibition against the adoption or implementation
of policies or practices by employers that discourage
the reporting of work-related injuries or illnesses or that
discriminate or provide for adverse action against any employee for reporting such injury or illness;
(iii) a prohibition against the loss of wages or employee benefits as a result of an employee participating in or aiding workplace inspections;
(iv) investigations of incidents in a place of employment resulting in a death or the hospitalization of two or more employees;
(v) a prohibition against designating a citation for an occupational health and safety standard violation as an unclassified citation;
(vi) the rights of an employee who has sustained a work-related injury or illness that is the subject of an investigation;
(vii) an employer's right to contest citations and penalties;
(vii) the Secretary's assertion of an employer's failure to correct a serious hazard during an employer's contest to a citation;
(ix) employee objections to modifications of citations. Increases civil and criminal penalties for certain OSHA violators.
6. Requires a state that has an approved plan for the development and enforcement of occupational safety and health standards to amend its plan to conform to the requirements of this Act within 12 months after enactment of this Act.
H.R. 2067: Protecting America's Workers Act Apr 23, 2009. Introduced into Congress by Ms. WOOLSEY (for herself, Mr. ABERCROMBIE, Ms. BERKLEY, Mr. BRADY of Pennsylvania, Mr. COHEN, Mr. HARE, Mr. HINCHEY, Ms. HIRONO, Mr. HOLT, Mrs. MALONEY, Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California, Mr. PAYNE, Mr. ROTHMAN of New Jersey, Ms. SCHAKOWSKY, Ms. SHEA-PORTER, Mr. YARMUTH, and Mr. MCGOVERN).
It is moved that: THE SPEEA COUNCIL supports the provisions of H.R. 2067, PROTECTING AMERICA’S WORKERS Act of the 111th Congress, and authorizes members, officers and staff to advocate for passage of the PROTECTING AMERICA’S WORKERS Act bills, going forward.
· This legislation provides long overdue protections to all American workers.
· The provisions may be too broad or punitive, giving individuals something to find in the act they dislike.
For Informational Purposes:
Rick Hoffman, CR (R-7), Member of SPEEA L&PA will make a motion to amend M10-002 by adding the following:
Additionally the SPEEA COUNCIL supports the following revisions to H.R. 2067:
1. In SEC 310 Subsection (a) (1) (A) and (B) the fine amounts are to be increased to $250,000 and $25,000 fines respectively.
2. In SEC 310 Subsection (4) (B) (page 19 line 11) is amended by adding the word "daily" between the words "such" and "civil" so that the section shall read, "...such daily civil penalty amounts..."
3. Sec 311 shall be amended to require employers to identify in writing all management responsible for ensuring the safety of the workplace, to post the list in the workplace and to provide the list to OSHA and the Department of Labor and to update the list on a regular basis.
4. Sec 311 shall also be amended to require a minimum prison sentence of 2 1/2 years in the case of the death of an employee or 5 years if the conviction is for a violation committed after a first conviction.
The following pages provide additional supporting information.