Joint comments on OSHA’s NPRM on tracking workplace injuries. Letter to OSHA from CPR Member Scholars Tom McGarity and Sid Shapiro and CPR Policy Analyst Katie Tracy opposing provisions that would roll back requirements in the 2016 final rule, Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses, September 28, 2018.
Letters to Maryland Gubernatorial Candidates re Worker Safety. Read a letter from CPR's Rena Steinzor and Katie Tracy to Maryland gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous calling for a strengthened Maryland Occupational Safety and Health division, September 21, 2018.
Joint Letters to Food Safety Inspection Service re poulty plant line speeds. CPR and 11 other organizations write to oppose requests from four poultry processors (Ozark Mountain Poultry, Peco Poultry, Pilgrim's Pride, Gerber Poultry) for waivers that would allow them to operate their evisceration lines at speeds that pose health and safety risks to workers and consumers. July 31, 2018.
Joint Letter to House and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairs and Ranking Members from Tom McGarity, Sid Shapiro, and Rena Steinzor opposing section of the House Farm Bill (H.R. 2) that would codify exemption of high-risk retail facilities that sell hazardous chemicals to commercial end users from OSHA’s Process Safety Management standard, September 24, 2018.
More than 30,000 workers have died as a result of on-the-job injuries since 2009, many because their employers failed to follow safety procedures -- violations for which OSHA imposed fines. But a report from CPR finds that OSHA is routinely discounting those fines, greatly diminishing any deterrent value.
Letter from Katherine Tracy to leaders of the Maryland House Committee on Economic Matters in support of HB24, re requiring state contractors to develop worker safety and health plans. January 23, 2019.
Inadequately regulated chemical hazards are at their deadliest in the workplace. People exposed to toxics at work tend to encounter dangerous substances more frequently, for longer durations, and at higher levels than the public at large. Workers are at substantial risk across dozens of sectors including agriculture, domestic cleaning, hair and nail salons, home repairs, building construction, and chemical manufacturing. Read CPR's Detox for the Workplace handbook to see how workers can protect themselves.
The Center for Progressive Reform with 66 organizations and individuals on comments to OSHA recommending improvements to its administration of whistleblower protection provisions under Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act, May 7, 2019.
The Center for Progressive Reform joined 100+ organizations in a Workers’ Memorial Week letter to the Department of Labor calling for a federal heat stress standard to protect workers from the growing dangers of climate change and rising temperatures, April 26, 2019.
CPR Policy Analyst Katie Tracy joined more than 50 health and safety activists on a letter to the Chemical Safety Board expressing objection to the exclusion of the victim’s names in the agency’s investigation report of the 2018 fatal blowout at the Pryor Trust gas well in Oklahoma. June 17, 2019.
Preventing Death and Injury on the Job: The Criminal Justice Alternative in State Law, CPR Paper 1602. This manual begins by explaining why local prosecutors should focus more attention on bringing criminal charges against employers—the business entity as well as responsible executives and managers—in appropriate cases involving the death or serious injury of one or more workers. It also offers an introduction to criminal law and criminal procedure to help advocates understand what charges might apply. Then, this manual discusses how to build a successful campaign, and provides an appendix of helpful resources that advocates can utilize and tailor to fit their campaign.
Matthew Shudtz and Katherine Tracy's February 15, 2017, written testimony to the Maryland General Assembly's Standing Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Education & Economic Developments on funding for worker safety standards enforcement.
Katherine Tracy's March 6, 2017, written testimony to the Maryland General Assembly's Economic Matters Committee on public works contracts and contractor occupational safety and health requirements.
Letter to Several Federal Agencies re the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to expand the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point-based Inspection Models Project (HIMP) pilot program throughout the hog-processing industry.
Katherine Tracy and Matthew Shudtz' testimony (submitted) to Maryland General Assembly House Standing Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Education & Economic Development
Joint Letter to Agriculture Secretary re Swine Slaughter Rule. Joint Letter from CPR and 18 other organizations urging Secretary Sonny Perdue to conduct public hearings and weigh peer review, March 15, 2018.
CPR's first- and only-of-its-kind Crimes Against Workers Database offers detailed information, readily searchable, about state criminal cases and grassroots advocacy campaigns against employers responsible for crimes against workers – leaving them dead, maimed, seriously injured or sick, or robbing them of some or all of their paychecks.
CPR’s Rena Steinzor, Katie Tracy, and David Flores joined with 19 individuals and organizations calling on Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney Raymond Morrogh to open a criminal investigation into a worksite trench collapse on July 23, 2019 in Fairfax County, Virginia, killing a teenager and injuring an adult male, August 19, 2019.
On January 31, 2020, CPR President Rob Verchick hosted a webinar featuring CPR Member Scholar Maxine Burkett, Resilience Force's Saket Soni, and Florida State's Matt Hauer -- an engaging discussion about the biggest climate migration and resilience challenges that residents and workers are facing in communities across the U.S., legal and policy barriers, emerging research and solutions, and opportunities for engagement. Watch and listen!
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.
Writing for FairWarning and the Sacramento Bee, Rena Steinzor and Katie Tracy point to recent on-the-job deaths that resulted from employer negligence and call for prosecution of companies, supervisors and executives who cut corners at the expense of their employees life and limb.
CPR joined with 117 other major labor, worker, consumer, small business, civil rights, women's rights, environmental, legal, justice, health and safety organizations in a letter to congressional leaders opposing legislation that would immunize unsafe businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.
CPR joined more than 225 other worker safety organizations in urging Members of Congress to pass the COVID-19 Every Worker Protection Act, which would require OSHA to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard to protect all workers who continue to go to work during the pandemic from exposure to the coronavirus.
In the Baltimore Sun: President Donald Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to order meat and poultry plants to continue operating despite COVID-19 outbreaks, exposing Maryland's poultry workers to enormous risks. Poultry processors haven't demonstrated they're able to keep workers safe and healthy, but they know that many of these low-wage workers will be forced to return. To top it all off, one of the president's goals with this order was to provide legal immunity to companies, so that they can't be sued by employees who are infected as a result of unsafe working conditions.
Writing in the Waco Tribune, Thomas McGarity warns that Sen. Mitch McConnell's effort to extend a federal COVID-19 liability shield over businesses will endanger workers' lives. Such immunity from accountability would allow employers to force workers to choose between losing their jobs or returning to workplaces where they are not sufficiently protected from the coronavirus.
Responding to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's threat to attach to a future stimulus bill a liability shield for companies that fail to protect workers or consumers from the coronavirus, CPR Member Scholars and staff wrote to congressional leaders urging that they not interfere with the ability of workers, consumers, and members of their families to hold businesses accountable when their unreasonably dangerous actions have caused them to contract COVID-19.
The "re-opening" of the American economy while the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is still circulating puts workers at heightened risk of contracting the deadly virus. In some blue-collar industries, the risk is particularly acute because of the inherent nature of the work itself and of the workplaces in which it is conducted. And the risk, for a variety of reasons, falls disproportionately on people of color and low-income workers. With governors stay-at-home orders and other pandemic safety restrictions, CPR Member Scholars Thomas McGarity, Michael Duff, and Sidney Shapiro examine the federal government's many missed opportunities to stem the spread of the virus in the nation's workplaces, and make recommendations for what needs to happen next to protect employees on the job.
Even as COVID-19 continues to rage across the United States, governments and industries are "reopening" the American economy. As a new report from the Center for Progressive Reform shows, in the absence of sufficient safeguards, this puts workers and the general public at heightened risk of contracting the deadly virus.
The nation's workplaces are not nearly as safe or healthy as they need to be to protect all workers, and workers lack the power they deserve to speak up against exploitation without fear of significant retaliation. Fixing the current system requires an updated and vastly improved labor law that empowers workers to speak up about health and safety hazards, rather than risk their lives out of fear of losing employment and pay. It also requires that workers be empowered to fight back when government agencies fail to enforce safety and health requirements. The authors propose guaranteeing all workers a private right of action to enforce violations of the law, coupled with incentives for speaking up and strong whistleblower protections.
Over the last several decades, U.S. workers have been systematically disempowered and silenced. A new report from the Center for Progressive Reform explains that because of this, the nation's workplaces are not nearly as safe or healthy as they need to be, and workers lack the power they deserve to speak up against exploitation and abuse without fear of significant retaliation. Read the news release accompanying CPR's report, OSHA's Next 50 Years: Legislating a Private Right of Action to Empower Workers.
CPR joined unions, public health professionals, advocates, workers, faith leaders, and Maryland residents across the state calling on Governor Hogan to issue an executive order requiring the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH) division of the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation to adopt an emergency standard to protect workers from the novel coronavirus.
The Center for Progressive Reform is among nine recipients of a national grant by Clean Slate for Worker Power to advance labor law reform. The $47,200 award will help CPR advocate for a private right of action that would allow workers to enforce Maryland health and safety laws and identify complementary policies that provide workers a more formal role in government-led enforcement, such as participation in inspections and enhanced whistleblower protections.
CPR joined with 70+ organizations in a joint letter to Maryland legislative leaders calling on them to convene a special session of the Maryland legislature in order to adopt legislation to protect the state's farmworkers from COVID-19.
CPR joined more than 85 worker safety organizations in a joint letter to Sens. Kamala Harris and Sherrod Brown, expressing support for the Asuncion Valdivia Heat Illness and Fatality Prevention Act. The bill directs OSHA to issue a heat stress standard for outdoor and indoor workers.
Workers presently have no right to bring a lawsuit against employers under the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) or equivalent state laws when employers fail to provide safe and healthy working conditions. This gap in the law has been especially troubling during the COVID-19 pandemic, as workers across the United States have faced a massive workplace health crisis without any meaningful support from OSHA or most states or territories. Even with an incoming OSHA that is more supportive of workers’ rights and expected to better enforce standards, providing workers a “private right of action” will bolster the agency’s activities. In our March 5 webinar, attendees heard from attorneys who support legislative measures to empower workers by providing them a “private right of action” to enforce the law.
CPR joined the Government Accountability Project and 263 other organizations in calling on the Biden-Harris administration and Congress to improve federal whistleblower protections for public-sector workers.
CPR joined workers' rights, occupational safety and health, academic, and faith organizations and leaders in a letter to President Joe Biden, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) urging approval of OSHA's long overdue Emergency Temporary Standard to protect frontline workers from COVID-19.
The Labor Department’s emergency COVID standard, released today, is too limited and weak to effectively protect all workers from the ongoing pandemic. Workers justifiably expected an enforceable general industry standard to protect them from COVID-19, and the Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) has been calling for such a standard since June 2020. But what emerged after more than six weeks of closed-door White House review was a largely unenforceable voluntary guidance document, with only health care workers receiving the benefit of an enforceable standard.