1 Feb 2021
Advisory: Wednesday, February 3, 1pm ET
National COSH, 100+ Worker Groups to Release 2021
“Agenda for Worker Safety and Health”
OSHA a catastrophic failure during pandemic -- agenda outlines how
Biden-Harris Administration can protect workers and rebuild our economy
Los Angeles – The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) and the COSH Network will release an eight-point “National Agenda for Worker Safety and Health” endorsed by more than 100 worker and community-based organizations this coming Wednesday, February 3 at 1 pm ET/ 10 am PT.
The National Agenda, a bold, transformational vision for the future of worker health and safety in the U.S., was developed by workers, health and safety leaders, unions, and worker organizations. It brings together ideas, based on real experience in our workplaces, to confront the COVID-19 pandemic and other longstanding workplace hazards, such as the recent preventable tragedy at a poultry plant in Georgia which has claimed six lives so far.
The Zoom media briefing on Feb. 3 will feature workers from agriculture, construction and hospitality industries, who can share their experiences about confronting a deadly pandemic and other hazards in the workplace.
Jessica E. Martinez, Co-Executive Director, National COSH
Marcos Vasquez, Day Laborer, Fe y Justicia Worker Center, Houston TX
Daisy Cruz from Workers’ Dignity, Nashville TN
Hotel Worker from Western North Carolina Workers’ Center, Morganton, NC
U.S. Rep. Andy Levin, (D-MI), Vice Chair House Education and Labor Committee
Joseph “Chip” Hughes, Jr., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Pandemic and Emergency Response, US Occupational Safety and Health Administration
When: Wednesday, February 3, 1 pm ET/ 10 am PT
Where: To join the call, register here: tinyurl.com/COSHAgendaZoom
“Workers are sick, broke and dying -- because so far during this pandemic, employers, OSHA and our federal government have failed to protect workers from the risk of infectious disease,” said Martinez. “We know workplace exposures play a major role in the virus transmission. We know that six poultry workers are dead and many other seriously injured from a preventable disaster in Georgia, because safety measures were not followed.”
“Our National Agenda is based on listening to workers and health and safety experts, who know about safety problems on their job and know how to fix them,” said Martinez. “With aggressive action, based on workers’ concerns and solutions, the Biden-Harris Administration and Congress can make a difference -- saving lives, reducing illness and injuries, and helping U.S. workers and businesses get back to work safely.”
As we hit the one-year anniversary of COVID-19 entering the United States, frontline and essential workers across the country continue to grapple with deadly conditions at their jobs. Essential workers of color, who are over-represented in some of the most dangerous industries and dying at higher rates from the pandemic. Black and Brown workers who do speak out with workplace safety concerns often face higher rates of retaliation from employers. For decades, these workers have lacked the necessary protections -- including paid sick leave, and consistent compensation -- to keep themselves safe from workplace hazards like COVID-19.
It doesn’t have to be this way. There are specific steps which can reduce the risk of infectious disease and other hazards. For weeks, frontline workers and safety advocates from over 100 different organizations across the country have worked to develop a robust worker health and safety policy platform for the new administration and Congress.
We will be mobilizing on Feb. 3 and beyond to push forward this bold vision for the future of worker health and safety in the U.S. These recommendations are not just important for worker experts, but for everyone who is concerned about safety during COVID. The research is clear--workplaces remain key sites where the virus can spread rapidly, underscoring that workplace health and safety is public health and safety.
Journalists will have a rare opportunity to hear directly from frontline workers about the hazards they face at their jobs. The conditions these workers are in are not inevitable--they are the outcomes of egregious actions by employers who have not been held accountable and a workplace health and safety infrastructure that has been running on empty for decades. We can achieve safe healthy workplaces for all people with the right policy approaches that are led, co-designed, and enforced by workers themselves, along with strong leadership and accountability mechanisms at all levels of government.
National COSH links the efforts of local worker health and safety coalitions in communities across the United States, advocating for elimination of preventable hazards in the workplace. For more information, please visit www.nationalcosh.org. Follow us at National COSH on Facebook and @NationalCOSH on Twitter.