Thursday, May 22, 2003

Ergonomics Comes to the Presidential Race: Dems Call for New Standard

According to this article from The Hill, one of the earliest crimes of the Bush Administration, the repeal of the OSHA ergonomics standard, has become a campiagn issue.
Eight of the nine candidates who are seeking the Democratic nomination have indicated they would seek a new regulation. Phone calls to the Rev. Al Sharpton's campaign were not returned.

At a time when some liberals complain that differences between the Republican Party and Democratic Party are vanishing, the regulation of ergonomic injuries is a standout issue. Every Republican in Congress voted to overturn the Clinton OSHA rule in 2001. The Senate voted 56-44 to reject it. The House vote was 222-198.
And it's even the issue in at least one Senate campaign:
Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) voted against the Clinton rule, but says OSHA should regulate ergonomic injuries. As an influential appropriator,
Specter infuriated business groups for years by repeatedly objecting to proposed budget language that sought to block OSHA's rule.

Meanwhile, Rep. Patrick Toomey (R-Pa.) is mounting a bit for Specter's seat in the 2004 election, and will use the incumbent's voting record on ergonomics to suggest Specter favors organized labor over business.

"It's part of the case we're building that [Specter] is not good for business," the source said.
(It would be highly ironic if Specter lost the nomination for his ergonomic advocacy, seeing as he didn't have the balls to vote against the repeal.)

Among all of the anti-worker actions this administration has taken, the repeal of the ergonomics standard was probably the worst. Unfortunately, it happened right at the beginning of the administration. It's up to us to remind workers -- and friends and relatives -- that millions of people are suffering painful and career-ending musckuloskeletal disorders because the President and the Republican Congress (aided by a few Democrats) repealed a much-needed health and safety standard for the first time in history.

Don't Let Them Forget