OSHA Oddly Reticent Despite Worker Peril In Coronavirus Era
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.
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