MSNBC

MSNBC 22 May 2020

OSHA Oddly Reticent Despite Worker Peril In Coronavirus Era

Description:

Jessica Martinez, co-executive director of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, talks with Rachel Maddow about OSHA reducing enforcement of worker safety despite the obviously increased danger the coronavirus poses to workers. Aired on 5/22/2020.


Doctors, nurses and support staff are under immense pressure in coronavirus hotspots, with many moving out of their homes to protect their families from the virus. With healthcare workers getting sick, there's a shortage of staff and tens of thousands are volunteering to help.
At least one person was killed and another seriously injured when a Canadian Snowbirds jet crashed into a house, causing a fire, on Sunday. The Snowbirds aerobatics team was doing a flyover of the region as part of Operation Inspiration, a salute to frontline workers of the coronavirus pandemic. CBSN Los Angeles reports.
Mexico has seen a surge in coronavirus cases.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been criticized for not taking the outbreak seriously.
Franc Contreras reports.
John Fox, chief executive and president of Beaumont Health, said March 27 that Michigan hospitals are reducing masks and ventilators to accommodate for the rise in coronavirus patients.

… show captions ↓
AS A RESULT, OUR ORGANIZATION
RELEASED A RETURN TO WORK
REPORT, AFTER RECEIVING CALLS
FROM WORKERS AND WE ARE KNOWING
WORKERS ARE FEELING MORE
EMPOWERING TO TAKE MATTERS INTO
THEIR OWN HANDS.
WE ARE SEEING OVER 200-PLUS
WALKOUTS THIS WEEK, BIG
COMPANIES, LIKE AN AMAZON,
INSTA-CART AND WE KNOW LAST WEEK
FORD WORKERS IN MICHIGAN WALKED
OUT AS SOON AS THEY FOUND OUT
THAT A WORKER TESTED POSITIVE
FOR COVID-19.
SO WITH THAT SAID, WE KNOW THAT
WORKERS HAVE THE POWER TO BE
ABLE TO MAKE THESE DEMANDS, BOTH
TO THE EMPLOYER, GOVERNMENT
AGENCIES, WE KNOW THE FEDERAL
AGENCIES AT THIS MOMENT, OSHA IN
PARTICULAR, THE OCCUPATIONAL
SAFETY AND HEALTH
ADMINISTRATION, WHO HAS
RESPONSIBILITIES TO ENSURE
HEALTH AND SAFETY WORKING
CONDITIONS FOR ALL WORKERS
ACROSS THE COUNTRY, HAS
MINIMIZED ENFORCEMENT.
COVID-19 HAS KILLED MORE WORKERS
IN ONE, IN THIS SHORT PERIOD, OF
THIS PANDEMIC, YET NOT ONE
CITATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO AN
EMPLOYER BECAUSE OF COVID-19.
THAT IS A HUGE PROBLEM.
NOW IS THE TIME TO HAVE MORE
ENFORCEMENT FOR OUR GOVERNMENT
AGENCIES, FORMER CHIEF OF OSHA,
MR. DAVID MICHAELS, HAD ASSURED
US THAT OSHA HAS THE KEY TO BE
ABLE TO HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO
PUT EMERGENCY STANDARDS IN
PLACE.
WE’RE SEEING LESS OF THIS.
CDC GUIDELINES ARE TOO WEAK.
WE’RE MORE AND MORE SEEING
VOLUNTARY PROGRAMS AS THE STATES
ARE STARTING TO REOPEN.
VOLUNTARY PROGRAMS ARE NOT THE
LANGUAGE WE NEED TO HEAR RIGHT
NOW, MANDATORY PROGRAMS, AS
WE’RE SEEING MORE AND MORE
WORKERS ARE IMPACTED.
>> LET’S ME JUST UNDERSCORE,
MAKE SURE I UNDERSTOOD SOMETHING
YOU JUST SAID.
IN TERMS OF THE FEDERAL, THERE
IS A PART OF THE FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT THAT IS RESPONSIBLE
FOR MAKING SURE THAT PEOPLE WORK
IN A SAFE ENVIRONMENT, OSHA, THE
OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH
ADMINISTRATION.
OUT OF ALL OF THE PEOPLE WHO
HAVE BEEN INFECTED ON THE JOB
AND ALL OF THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE
BEEN INFECTED ON THE JOB WHO
HAVE DIED, OSHA HAS YET TO ISSUE
A SINGLE CITATION TO ANY
WORKPLACE IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY
FOR COVID-19 SAFETY ISSUES?
>> THAT’S RIGHT.
THAT’S RIGHT.
AND AS YOU CAN SEE, IT’S
ASTONISHING, AND AGAIN, IT IS A
PROBLEM WITH ENFORCEMENT.
WE KNOW THAT PARTICULARLY THIS
PANDEMIC HAS REVEALED LONG
STANDING INEQUITIES IN OUR
COUNTRY.
WE’RE ALSO, FOR FAR TOO LONG, WE
KNOW THE LOW PAY AND DANGEROUS
CONDITIONS FACED BY MILLIONS OF
WORKERS HAVE PARTICULARLY
IMPACTED BLACK AND BROWN
COMMUNITIES.
BLACK AND BROWN COMMUNITIES HAVE
THE HIGHEST MORTALITY RATES
AROUND COVID-19.
WE KNOW THAT LATINO WORKERS MAKE
UP 18% OF THE WORKING
POPULATION.
AND 35% OF SLAUGHTERHOUSE
WORKERS ARE LATINOS.
AFRICAN-AMERICANS ARE 12% BUT
34% OF THOSE ARE CORRECTIONAL
OFFICERS.
THESE ARE ESSENTIAL WORKERS.
THESE ARE THE FOLKS THAT ARE
HAVING TO GO TO WORK ON A DAILY
BASIS, TO PROTECT THEIR
LIVELIHOODS.
WE ARE PUTTING, WORKERS
ESSENTIALLY, IF THEY’RE STAYING
HOME, THEY’RE NOT MAKING ENOUGH
OF A LIVING WAGE.
THEY CAN’T PROVIDE FOR THE
FAMILY, TO PAY RENT.
IF THEY GO HOME, THERE’S NOT
ENOUGH PROTECTION AND WE’RE NOT
ENSURING THE SAFETY PROTOCOLS TO
ENSURE THAT THEY DO NOT GET
INFECTED.
IT’S REALLY, REALLY AMPLIFIED, A
PROBLEM THAT WE’VE HAD ACROSS
THIS COUNTRY, IN TERMS OF THE
INEQUITIES, THERE IS NO LAW THAT

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