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.

sdd

The Next OSHA: Progressive Reforms to Empower Workers, CPR White Paper 1207

Type: Reports (July 19, 2012)
PDF: The Next OSHA: Progressive Reforms to Empower Workers, CPR White Paper 1207
Download
Author(s): Martha McCluskey, Thomas McGarity, Sidney Shapiro, Rena Steinzor, Matt Shudtz
Tags: OSHA next generation compliance
Categories: Workers' Rights Workers' Rights

January 11, 2013, Rise in Contract Labor Brings New Worker Safety Threats, Demands New Government Policies in Several Dangerous Industries, Says CPR Report.

January 11, 2013,

Type: News Releases (Jan. 11, 2013)
PDF: January 11, 2013, Rise in Contract Labor Brings New Worker Safety Threats, Demands New Government Policies in Several Dangerous Industries, Says CPR Report.
Download
Categories: Workers' Rights Workers' Rights

At the Company's Mercy: Protecting Contingent Workers from Unsafe Working Conditions

Type: Reports (Jan. 14, 2013)
PDF: At the Company's Mercy: Protecting Contingent Workers from Unsafe Working Conditions, CPR White Paper #1301
Download
Author(s): Martha McCluskey, Thomas McGarity, Sidney Shapiro, James Goodwin
Tags: worker safety contingent workers
Categories: Workers' Rights Workers' Rights

West Explosion Highlights Need for Regulatory Oversight

West Explosion Highlights Need for Regulatory Oversight, op-ed by Thomas McGarity

Type: Op-Eds (May 3, 2013)
PDF: West Explosion Highlights Need for Regulatory Oversight
Download
Author(s): Thomas McGarity
Categories: Workers' Rights Workers' Rights Energy & Environment Energy & Environment Regulatory Policy Regulatory Policy

CPR comments on proposed OSHA rule on respirable silica

CPR comments on proposed OSHA rule on respirable silica, encouraging OSHA to act with a sense of urgency

Type: Letters to Agencies (Feb. 11, 2014)
PDF: CPR comments - OSHA silica proposal OSHA-2010-0034.pdf
Download
Author(s): Martha McCluskey, Sidney Shapiro, James Goodwin, Thomas McGarity
Tags: silica rule OSHA
Categories: Workers' Rights Workers' Rights

Patoka Testimony on Maryland's SB 774, Occupational Safety and Health Prequalification

'Michael Patoka's Testimony on Maryland's SB 774, Occupational Safety and Health Prequalification for construction firms before entering bids for public contracts

Type: Legislative Testimony (Feb. 27, 2014)
PDF: Patoka Testimony on Maryland's SB 774 , Occupational Safety and Health Prequalification
Download
Author(s): Michael Patoka
Tags: Maryland OSHA
Categories: Workers' Rights Workers' Rights