Workers' Rights

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.

Letter to OIRA re Chemicals of Concern listings

Letter to OIRA Administrator Cass Sunstein re Chemicals of Concern listings under TSCA

Type: Letters to Agencies (June 20, 2011)
Read PDF
Author(s): Wendy Wagner, Rena Steinzor
Twelve Crucial Health, Safety, and Environmental Regulations: Will the Obama Administration Finish in Time?

Twelve Crucial Health, Safety, and Environmental Regulations: Will the Obama Administration Finish in Time?, CPR White Paper 1106

Type: Reports (April 19, 2011)
Read PDF
Author(s): Amy Sinden, Rena Steinzor, Matt Shudtz, James Goodwin, Yee Huang
The BP Catastrophe: When Hobbled Law and Hollow Regulation Leave Americans Unprotected

The BP Catastrophe: When Hobbled Law and Hollow Regulation Leave Americans Unprotected, CPR White Paper 1101

Type: Reports (Jan. 26, 2011)
Read PDF
Author(s): Alyson Flournoy, Sidney Shapiro, William Andreen, Thomas McGarity, James Goodwin
From Ship to Shore: Reforming the National Contingency Plan to Improve Protections for Oil Spill Cleanup Workers

From Ship to Shore: Reforming the National Contingency Plan to Improve Protections for Oil Spill Cleanup Workers, CPR White Paper 1006

Type: Reports (Sept. 13, 2010)
Read PDF
Author(s): Rebecca Bratspies, Alyson Flournoy, Thomas McGarity, Sidney Shapiro, Rena Steinzor, Matt Shudtz
CPR Comments to OSHA on 'HazCom' standard

CPR Comments to OSHA on its Hazard Communication standard

Type: Letters to Agencies (March 5, 2010)
Read PDF
Author(s): Sidney Shapiro, James Goodwin
CPR Comments at Hearing on OSHA 'HazCom' standard
Type: Letters to Agencies (March 4, 2010)
Read PDF
Author(s): Matt Shudtz
Workers at Risk: Regulatory Dysfunction at OSHA
Type: Reports (Feb. 8, 2010)
Read PDF
Author(s): Thomas McGarity, Rena Steinzor, Sidney Shapiro, Matt Shudtz
Protecting Public Health and the Environment by the Stroke of a Presidential Pen: Seven Executive Orders for the President's First 100 Days

Protecting Public Health and the Environment by the Stroke of a Presidential Pen: Seven Executive Orders for the President's First 100 Days, By CPR Member Scholars Rebecca M. Bratspies, David M. Driesen, Robert L. Fischman, Sheila Foster, Eileen Gauna, Robert L. Glicksman, Alexandra B. Klass, Catherine A. O’Neill, Sidney Shapiro, Amy Sinden, Rena Steinzor, Robert R.M. Verchick, and Wendy Wagner, and CPR Policy Analyst James Goodwin

Type: Reports (Nov. 13, 2008)
Read PDF
Comments on the Department of Labor's Risk Assessment proposal

Rena Steinzor and Policy Analyst Matt Shudtz's comments urging the Department of Labor to withdraw its Risk Assessment proposal.

Type: Letters to Agencies (Sept. 29, 2008)
Read PDF
Author(s): Rena Steinzor, Matt Shudtz

Advanced Search Filters

Reset Filters