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Occupational Health and Safety

WHEREAS:

            More than forty years after the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, the number of work-related deaths averages 13 a day and an estimated 50,000 die from occupational diseases every year;  and

WHEREAS:

            The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that the public employee injury rate is nearly double that in the private sector; and

WHEREAS:

            Despite having some of the most dangerous and unpleasant jobs in our society, eight million public employees in 25 states and the District of Columbia still lack coverage under the Occupational Safety and Health Act; and

WHEREAS:

            OSHA’s staffing has been slashed and enforcement hampered by austerity driven budgets and sequestration imposed by Congress; and

WHEREAS:

            AFSCME members face unregulated occupational safety and health hazards, such as infectious diseases, indoor air pollution, workplace violence and ergonomic problems, every day; and

WHEREAS:

            Whatever legal and contractual coverage AFSCME members have, the most important factor affecting workplace safety is how effectively we organize in our workplaces and how strongly we mobilize members to stand up for their right to a safe workplace.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:

            That AFSCME make the fight for safer workplaces and protecting the lives and health of its members a top priority; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

            That AFSCME continue to provide technical assistance, training and educational materials on health and safety to members and affiliates; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

            That AFSCME councils and locals should educate a new generation of safety and health activists and commit resources to resolving health and safety problems; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

            That AFSCME urge Congress to fully fund the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and its sister agencies; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

            That AFSCME work with other labor organizations to participate in OSHA rulemaking  concerning infectious diseases, workplace violence, ergonomics and other safety and health issues facing our members; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED:

            That AFSCME urge Congress to pass the Protect America’s Workers Act to finally extend OSHA coverage to all public employees and, in the interim, work in state legislatures to gain coverage for those employees who lack it.

SUBMITTED BY:
Danny Donohue, President and Delegate
Denise Berkley, Secretary and Delegate
CSEA/AFSCME Local 1000
New York

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