Tag Archives: OSHA

USDA and Meatpacking Industry Collaborated to Undermine Covid-19 Response, Documents Show

Hundreds of emails obtained by Public Citizen and American Oversight offer a rare inside look at the meat industry’s power and access to the highest levels of government.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-15-2020

Some critics have called keeping meat processing plants open during the Covid-19 pandemic a “death sentence” for workers.. Screenshot: CBS

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the meatpacking industry worked together to downplay and disregard risks to worker health during the Covid-19 pandemic, as shown in documents published Monday by Public Citizen and American Oversight.

The documents (pdf), which the groups obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, reveal that a week before President Donald Trump issued his controversial executive order in April to keep meatpacking plants open—overriding closure orders from local health officials—a leading meat industry lobby group drafted a proposed executive order that was strikingly similar to Trump’s directive. Continue reading

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The right to refuse unsafe work is more important than ever — but expect a fight

Photo: USDA

By Kathy Wilkes. Published 6-7-2020 by Huck/Konopacki Cartoons

The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a heavy toll on workers. Reports of job hazards grow increasingly dire as several governors and President Trump push past CDC guidelines to “reopen” the economy while forecasts predict soaring infections and deaths.

Some states at the direction of the Labor Department threaten termination of unemployment benefits for workers fearing return to dangerous jobs. A disturbing June 5 New York Times’ report reveals how far those machinations have gone. The result: workers fired without pay or benefits or trapped in a deadly vice between poverty and disease. Continue reading

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Former OSHA Officials Voice Alarm as Trump Tells Corporations They Don’t Have to Record Coronavirus Cases Among Their Workers

“If you work in a grocery store or factory then sorry, the coronavirus cases there probably aren’t being reported.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-12-2020

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci, Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue are among those attending a bill signing ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House on March 27, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Photo: White House/flickr

President Donald Trump’s Labor Department has quietly issued guidance informing most employers in the United States that they will not be required to record and report coronavirus cases among their workers because doing so would supposedly constitute an excessive burden on companies.

The new rules, released Friday by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), were met with alarm by public health experts and former Labor Department officials who said the new rules are an absurd attack on transparency that could further endanger frontline workers. Continue reading

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As Trump Obscures Anti-Worker Record Ahead of Labor Day, New Report Details His Actual Worker Agenda: ‘Drop Dead’

“Trump has betrayed America’s workforce, sacrificing lives at the altar of industry profits.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-1-2018

“The Trump administration has systematically dismantled fundamental health and safety protections, and undermined the very agency tasked with safeguarding America’s workforce,” Public Citizen’s Shanna Devine wrote in a new report. Photo: pxhere (Public Domain)

In the week leading up to Labor Day, President Donald Trump’s vicious anti-worker agenda has been on full display: In addition to abruptly canceling a modest pay raise for around two million public employees on Thursday, Trump also signed a retirement savings executive order that was denounced as a gift to Wall Street and “a cruel joke on American workers” facing a retirement income crisis.

Yet, as if none of these latest attacks on American workers took place, the White House issued its annual Presidential Labor Day Proclamation late Friday, touting what it describes as Trump’s “historic action to advance prosperity for the American worker.” Continue reading

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