Blog

  • 1 Aug 2023

    Extreme Heat: White House measures to protect workers are not enough. Bold action needed to address deadly risks!

    The actions announced last week by President Biden to protect workers from extreme heat- including ramped up enforcement for heat safety violations and increased inspections in high-risk industries- are a modest step in the right direction.

    Tragically, workers are getting sick and  dying  from the  extreme  heat  driven by climate change. This is no time for modest steps. The President, Congress, federal OSHA and state and local officials must take bold action, now, to reduce risk and save lives.

    We must urgently pursue decarbonizing our economy, with a fully-funded just transition to ensure job and income security for affected workers. But workers cannot wait while this process unfolds and we are not helpless in the face of the triple-digit temperatures that are breaking thermometers all over the globe.   Heat stroke and heat illness, like other occupational hazards, is preventable.

  • 19 Jul 2023

    Winning Rights: The Role of Worker Centers in Protecting the Most Vulnerable Workers (Book Review)

    Celeste Monforton and Jane M. VonBergen’s book,On the Job: The UntoldStory of Worker Centers and the New Fight for Wages, Dignity, and Health, captures the story of workers fed up with toiling in dangerous jobs for paltry pay and of being forced to choose between their health and well-being or putting food  on their table. It tells the story of a workforce not protected by a union collective bargaining agreement but able to assert its collective power through a growing part of the labor movement:worker centers. Worker centers began to emerge in the late 1970s and early1980s, led by Black worker activists inNorth Carolina and South Carolina and immigrant activists in New York City and along the Texas–Mexico border. As of late 2021 they had grown to number over 246, funded by a combination of foundations, government, earned income, grassroots fundraising, and dues.

  • 26 Apr 2023

    A FedEx Worker Was Killed on the Job. Her Case Wasn’tan Anomaly

    Jessica James didn’thave to die.  

    Last year, James was killed three months short of her thirty-third birthday at FedEx’s World Hub in Memphis, Tennessee. The forklift she was driving flipped over, crushing her underneath.  

    Her death was no unforeseeable freak accident. James was driving on a metal ramp to deliver a load of packages into a FedEx truck. Weeks earlier, an inspection found that the ramp was damaged, with a cracked surface and repairs needed on its tires and bolts.  

  • 21 Apr 2023

    Workers’ Memorial Week: Q&A with Jessica E. Martinez

    On April 28, 2023, communities across the U.S. will come together for Workers’ Memorial Day to mourn workers killed on the job and advocate for safer working conditions.  

    Workers’ Memorial Day commemorates the enactment of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), promising every worker the fundamental right to a safe job. The law’s passage in 1970 resulted from the tireless efforts of workers, unions and social justice activists who organized for safer working conditions and demanded action from the government to protect working people.  

    We sat down with National COSH’s Co-Executive Director Jessica E. Martinez to learn how they commemorate workers on April 28 and the week leading up to this day.

  • 10 Apr 2023

    We Have a Child Labor Crisis, Not a Worker Shortage

    Should a thirteen-year-old be working a hazardous job at night?

    Packers Sanitation Services Inc. apparently thinks so. In 2022, the company hired a thirteen-year-old child from Guatemala as a night shift cleaner at a Grand Island, Nebraska meatpacking plant. The facility is owned by JBS, one of the world’s largest food companies.

    The girl’s employment “came to an abrupt end after a nurse at Walnut Middle School found chemical burns, blisters and open wounds on her hands and one knee,” The Washington Post reported. The injuries arose from exposure to hazardous chemicals used to clean the blood, fat and animal parts that remain after a day on the killing floor.  

  • 9 Jan 2023

    COSHCON2022: “Let’s do a worker-led movement”

    “We had no money,” recalls Derrick Palmer. “We didn’thave advice. All we had was two tables and two tents. We said: ” You know what, let’s do a worker-led movement. Let’s just shoot our shot.” ”

    Palmer, who works at Amazon’s JFK8 warehouse on Staten Island, is vice president for organizing for the independent Amazon Labor Union (ALU). He and his co-workers shocked the world in March of 2022, when a grassroots operation, funded and organized by workers themselves, beat back an aggressive anti-worker campaign from one of the world’s largest and wealthiest corporations to establish the first-ever labor union at one of Amazon’s U.S. facilities.

  • 4 Oct 2022

    Workers tell OSHA: We want actions, not words

    A shattered arm. A cover-up of safety violations. Workers dying, with minimal penalties for employers.

    That’s the kind of testimony rank-and-file workers and safety advocates brought to Washington DC last week. The occasion was a first-ever Workers’ Voice Summit, convened by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the federal agency responsible for workplace safety.

     

  • 15 Aug 2022

    COSHCON2021: Building a movement and a community

    “When we come together, we can win”  was the rallying call by  Dr. Linda Rae Murray  that launched the 10th annual  National Conference on Worker Safety and Health  (COSHCON2021) in December.

    Our growing movement for safe and fair workplaces is at a pivotal moment. Workers and families are confronting a deadly pandemic; heat stress, extreme weather, and abuse and indifference from unfair employers.