Monday, December 19, 2005

AFL-CIO Opposes Alito

No big surprises here. The AFL-CIO has come out officially in opposition to the appointment of Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. Turns out he's not good for workers.

Stating that "Alito's judicial philosophy is one that appears to'be at odds with workers' interests," AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, said, in a letter to the Senate, that a review of Alito's record compels the Federation to oppose his appointment to the Supreme Court.
Judge Alito's decisions and dissents show a disturbing tendency to take an extremely narrow and restrictive view of laws passed by Congress to protect workers' rights, resulting in workers being deprived of wage and hour, health and safety, anti-discrimination, pension, and other important protections. On a number of occasions, Judge Alito's colleagues on the Third Circuit have criticized his opinions for their excessively narrow view of worker protection and civil rights statutes. Judge Alito holds federal agencies to an unrealistically high standard when they seek to enforce worker protection laws, often reversing them on hypertechnical grounds and depriving workers of important protections as a result.
The labor federation also released a 10-page review of Alito's record. Among the cases reviewed was on that addressed workers' heatlh and safety rights:
Vacating OSHA Citations for "Failure to Abate" Safety Violations.

In Alden Leeds v. OSHA, 298 F .3d 256 (2002), Alito authored a majority opinion, joined by Roth (Bush I) and Schwarzer (Ford), reversing OSHA's citation of a company for "failure to abate" workplace safety violations that were the subject of a previous citation. The company had been cited in 1993 for 13 specific instances of improper storage of chemicals. The facility was re-inspected in 1994. In 1995, OSHA cited the company for 33 additional instances of improper storage of chemicals. Alito concluded that the 1993 citations did not put the company on sufficient notice that the violations at issue concerned improper storage practices generally, and not just the 13 specific instances cited by OSHA. He therefore concluded that the requirements for a "failure to abate" violation had not been met.
So, if I read this right, unless the company had failed to properly store the exact same chemicals in 1994 that they failed to store properly in 1993, it's not considered a "failure to abate?"

Just what we need on the Supreme Court.