All workers have the right to a safe and healthful workplace and a fair wage. But the American workplace has changed dramatically since many of our labor laws were last updated, creating new hazards for workers, and transforming the relationship between employer and employee. New, bigger, more powerful equipment has come online. New chemicals and other toxic substances have come into routine use. New production and construction methods have been introduced.
At the same time, more and more employers rely on “contingent” workers instead of permanent employees to perform jobs at all levels. Employers are also fighting grassroots efforts to raise the minimum wage, denying sick leave and family medical leave, misclassifying workers to avoid overtime pay, and retaliating against workers who report wrongdoing.
Worker deaths or injuries resulting from conditions that violate workplace safety laws are still too common. Often, rather than treating these deadly violations of the law as subjects for criminal investigation, prosecutors simply defer to OSHA or comparable state agencies, significantly reducing the scope of possible penalties, and reducing any deterrent effect as violations are "punished" with light fines. CPR's first-of-its-kind Crimes Against Workers database catalogs state criminal cases brought by enlightened prosecutors, as well as grassroots advocacy campaigns against employers responsible for workers being killed, maimed, or seriously endangered on the job.
Through research and scholarship, CPR Member Scholars and staff offer local, state, and federal policymakers and prosecutors tools to make sure all workers have a safe workplace and a fair deal for their labor. See their work below. Use the search box to narrow the list.
CPR joined with 48 public interest organizations on a letter endorsing passage of the COVID-19 Health Care Worker Protection Act of 2020, a vital bill to require the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue an emergency temporary standard to protect healthcare workers from COVID-19.
Worker safety advocates from CPR and the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health expressed outrage today at the newly released coronavirus guidance from the U.S. Centers for Diseases Control (CDC), which fails to protect essential workers, is weaker than previous guidance, and is not based on scientific evidence. Reports of essential workers dying on the job from the COVID-19 pandemic underscore the need for additional protections, not less.
CPR joined more than 500 labor, racial, legal, interfaith, and women’s justice organizations and individuals on a letter demanding that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention retract its flawed guidance that allows workers exposed to coronavirus to return to work without self-quarantining.
CPR joined more than 50 organizations in a letter urging Congress to ensure that its coronavirus stimulus legislation protects food workers and producers and a safe, resilient food system instead of exploitative industrial livestock production.