Obama appointed Perez as Labor Secretary to expand the global labor pool here in the US. Clinton expanded Foreign Economic Zone policies into Latin America during the 1990s----now the global 1% are bringing these policies back to the US. Raise your hand if you remember Central America was a war zone during the 1980s and 90s. This was sovereign citizens ---the Latino 99% fighting the installation of REAGAN/CLINTON Foreign Economic Zones. The Latino 1% and their 2% became extremely rich while the Central American citizens lost all wealth---all land rights----and we pushed onto global corporate campuses and global factories enslaved in the worst of conditions. Those escaping came to the US----where they are now helping to build the same global corporate campus structures to enslave more global citizens...including WE THE PEOPLE.
We spoke about Clinton/Obama 1% Wall Street global corporate neo-liberals POSING LEFT FOR LABOR with these few years of labor laws WE KNEW WOULD NEVER BE INSTALLED. Trans Pacific Trade Pact touts itself as good for global workers because it will bring developed nations' labor conditions up-----even as CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA have completely IGNORED US LABOR LAW ENFORCEMENT THESE FEW DECADES........especially OSHA.
'Ambassador of Costa Rica to the United States Román Macaya Hayes said, "With the globalization of the world economy, our country seeks to protect the rights of our workers wherever they employ their skills. Therefore, we are very pleased to renew this important agreement that protects these rights for Costa Rican citizens working in the United States."'
The global 1% and their 2% sell their involvement with Trans Pacific Trade Pact and ONE WORLD by PRETENDING it will protect workers from their nations. Know what? Just getting rid of Foreign Economic Zones and global factories in those Central American nations would protect these Latino 99%. Rememeber, the global 1% and their 2% WANT TO SEND THEIR 99% OVERSEAS AS GLOBAL LABOR POOL WORKERS because this makes it easier for a small percent to control a 99% of people inside that nation.
United States Department of Labor
Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
News ReleaseILAB News Release: [11/06/2014]
Contact Name: Egan Reich or Ann Mangold
Phone Number: (202) 693-4960 or x4679
Email: Reich.Egan@dol.gov or Mangold.Ann.R@dol.gov
Release Number: 14-2063-NAT
US Labor Department renews workplace rights agreements
with several Latin American countries
US Labor Secretary joined by ambassadors of Mexico, the Dominican Republic,
El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica for signing ceremony
WASHINGTON — During a ceremony today at U.S. Department of Labor headquarters, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez renewed partnership agreements with ambassadors representing the countries of Mexico, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
Under these renewed agreements, the department's enforcement agencies, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Wage and Hour Division will continue to collaborate with embassies and consulates to provide information about U.S. labor laws governing safety, health, wages and working hours to workers from these countries, including those under H-2A and H-2B visas working in the United States.
"All workers have a right to a safe workplace and fair payment of wages," said Secretary Perez. "Today's ceremony reaffirms our shared commitment to making sure that workers from these nations are able to exercise their rights."
Partnerships like these help the department enforce U.S. labor laws more effectively, especially in high-risk and low-wage industries where violations are more likely to occur. They also help the department's enforcement agencies identify problems workers face to improve their information outreach efforts.
"The renewal of the Letters of Arrangement with the Wage and Hour Division and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration reaffirms Mexico's strategic partnership with the Department of Labor for the promotion of a better understanding of labor laws and the wellbeing of Mexican workers in this country," said Ambassador of Mexico to the United States Eduardo Medina Mora.
"The Department of Labor has shown a very credible concern for the underprivileged foreign workers," said Ambassador of the Dominican Republic to the United States Aníbal de Castro. "For the Dominican Republic, this agreement is a step in the right direction to reduce our workers' vulnerability and preserve their rights. We proudly celebrate this signing."
Ambassador of El Salvador to the United States Francisco Altschul said, "One of the priorities of the Government of El Salvador is the protection of the rights of Salvadoran living abroad, and in particular labor rights of Salvadoran migrants living in the United States. That is why we are very pleased to renew today these local agreements with the U.S. Department of Labor."
"Nicaragua assigns great importance to this joint endeavor undertaken with the Labor Department," said Ambassador of Nicaragua to the United States Francisco Campbell. "We are satisfied with the results obtained over the last three years and are grateful for the opportunity to continue this close cooperation on an issue of mutual interest."
Ambassador of Costa Rica to the United States Román Macaya Hayes said, "With the globalization of the world economy, our country seeks to protect the rights of our workers wherever they employ their skills. Therefore, we are very pleased to renew this important agreement that protects these rights for Costa Rican citizens working in the United States."
More information about the agreements and Labor Department programs that protect migrant workers is available at http://www.dol.gov/dol/cpp/.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov/.
The Wage and Hour Division enforces national minimum wage, overtime pay, record-keeping and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act, as well as the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act and other federal labor laws. More information is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd/.
U.S. Labor Department representatives join ambassadors from several Latin American countries to renew workplace rights agreement. From left to right: Ambassador of Mexico Eduardo Medina Mora, Ambassador of the Dominican Republic Aníbal de Castro, Wage and Hour Division Deputy Administrator Laura Fortman, Ambassador of Nicaragua Francisco Campbell, Ambassador of El Salvador Francisco Altschul, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez, Ambassador of Costa Rica Román Macaya Hayes, Deputy Undersecretary of Labor for International Affairs Carol Pier, and Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels.
We have known since REAGAN/CLINTON that our workplace laws were not being enforced. As Obama and Trump today----the appointments to Labor Secretary have been tied to global Wall Street. Reagan started dismantling the strong labor protections and Federal oversight and accountability but it was Clinton-era that really ignored all Federal enforcement of labor laws and this is when our state Departments of Labor, Licensing, and Regulations DLLR were downsized and and silenced. This is of course when an Ehrlich /O'Malley came on board as workers lost all protections. Here in Maryland we hear our trade union members shouting against UNSAFE WORK CONDITIONS soaring as global labor pool workers are brought on site with very little workplace safety training. The global labor pool have no ideas of OSHA----and the 1% and their 2% have no intentions of bringing these worker protections to Foreign Economic Zones overseas---nor do they intend to protect their citizens sent to other nations.
When we see photo ops of a US Department of Labor PEREZ with a band of Latin American leaders PRETENDING to be interested in bringing labor protections with Trans Pacific Trade Pact----these same protections were supposed to have occurred under Clinton and NAFTA----AND THE OPPOSITE OCCURRED
We had strong workplace safety and public health safety last century under FDR left social Democracy----but once these far-right global 1% Wall Street REAGAN/CLINTON neo-liberals took both political parties---all that enforcement disappeared. Now global 1% and their 2% are POSING LABOR FRIENDLY by PRETENDING they support these same OSHA and other US labor laws. Know what Trans Pacific Trade Pact does-----IT ALLOWS ALL GLOBAL CORPORATIONS OPERATING IN US CITIES DEEMED FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES to ignore all US labor and environmental laws.
PLEASE GLANCE THROUGH THIS LONG ARTICLE ON HISTORY OF OSHA TO UNDERSTAND WHEN GLOBAL WALL STREET POLS ARE POSING SOCIAL PROGRESSIVE IN WHAT OSHA REALLY DOES IN PROTECTING WE THE PEOPLE. THINK HOW MUCH MORE WALL STREET AND CORPORATE TODAY'S CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA ARE.
How Politics Gutted Workplace Safety
In the 1980s, OSHA was forced to put business interests above worker protections. It’s still falling short.
By Jim Morris
On May 28, 1971, exactly one month after opening its doors, the already reviled Occupational Safety and Health Administration handed out its first citation.
The citation went to Allied Chemical Corp., which had allowed highly toxic mercury to pool on floors and working surfaces at its chlorine plant in Moundsville, West Virginia. It was issued under the so-called general duty clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, which says that workplaces must be “free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.”
Forty-four years and some 9 million violations later, health hazards such as mercury continue to plague America’s workers. OSHA has issued only 36 health standards and relies on mostly outdated exposure limits for the 470 substances it regulates; many more substances go unregulated. It rarely uses the general duty clause to cite alleged health violations, having concluded that the burden of proof is too steep. Hindered by court decisions, the White House, an often-hostile Congress, a weak underlying statute, and—some say —its own timidity, the agency is still searching for ways to protect workers from fumes, vapors, dusts, fibers, and liquids that can kill or incapacitate them.
OSHA has issued only 36 health standards and relies on mostly outdated exposure limits for the 470 substances it regulates.
While OSHA’s overall record on worker health is undistinguished, it has seen periods of productivity. The most notable came during the Carter administration in the late 1970s, when the agency rammed through standards for benzene, arsenic, lead, and other substances known to cause cancer, neurological problems, and other ailments. Unions were influential then, government employees motivated. “We had such loud, knowledgeable, vibrant voices,” said Eula Bingham, who ran OSHA from 1977 to 1981. “The time was right.”
The momentum died when Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter in the 1980 presidential election. Bingham was replaced by Thorne Auchter, a construction company executive who, like Reagan, argued that overregulation was hurting American enterprise and set OSHA on a more conciliatory course.
Reagan insisted that “we can relieve labor and business of burdensome, unnecessary regulations and still maintain high standards of environmental and occupational safety.” But many believe OSHA never recovered from the change in administrations.
“We were a cadre of people who were really serious,” said Nicholas Ashford, a professor of technology and policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who chaired the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health while Bingham was in office. “If we had had four more years, we would have really, really protected the American public from a variety of hazards.”
The following account is based on interviews with scores of current and former government officials—including OSHA leaders spanning administrations from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush—and others in the fields of medicine, law, labor, industry, and science, as well as thousands of documents from the National Archives at College Park, Maryland; the Reagan and Nixon presidential libraries in California; and private collections.
A division of the U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA faced an uphill battle from the day it opened its doors in April 1971. Business owners and lawmakers bemoaned and belittled it. Its inspectors elicited oddly visceral reactions; references to Adolf Hitler and the Gestapo became too numerous to count. In a handwritten note to Nixon in October 1971, a self-described “lifelong conservative Republican and … Nixon booster” from Ann Arbor, Michigan, wrote that if the president had played any role in OSHA’s creation, “you should be thrown out of office at once.”
In fact, Nixon had played a major role. In a message to Congress in August 1969, he observed that technological progress could be a “mixed blessing. The same new method or new product which improves our lives can also be the source of unpleasantness and pain.”
At the time, 14,000 workers were dying of traumatic injury each year, and many thousands more were being hurt or sickened. While the occasional factory or mine disaster made headlines, “most dangers are realized under less dramatic circumstances,” Nixon said. “Often, for example, a threat to good health will build up slowly over a period of many years. To such situations, the public gives very little attention. Yet the cumulative extent of such losses is great.” Nixon had been influenced as vice president in the 1950s by James Mitchell, Dwight D. Eisenhower’s labor secretary; known as the “social conscience” of the Republican Party, Mitchell had shepherded a maritime safety bill through Congress but had wanted to do more. Legislation submitted by Nixon’s predecessor in the White House, Lyndon Johnson, had failed.
For 16 months following Nixon’s appeal to Congress, Republicans and Democrats haggled over a bill that would spawn a federal worker health and safety policing agency to replace anemic, corruptible state programs. Hearings were held on what former Labor Secretary George Shultz, who’d moved over to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, called the “grim current scene.”
An October 1970 report from Democratic members of the Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare noted that “substantial numbers [of workers], even today, fall victim to ancient industrial poisons such as lead and mercury.” Moreover, “new materials and processes are being introduced into industry at a much faster rate than the present meager resources of occupational health can keep up with.”
Nixon signed the Occupational Safety and Health Act into law on Dec. 29, 1970, calling it “probably one of the most important pieces of legislation … ever passed by the Congress of the United States.”
At the time, Democrats controlled both houses of Congress; the vote in the Senate was 83 to 4, in the House 310 to 58. The act, a compromise between bills introduced by Sen. Harrison Williams, a New Jersey Democrat, and Rep. William Steiger, a Wisconsin Republican, included a catchall clause that held employers responsible for providing safe environments—recognition, as the 1970 committee report put it, that “precise standards to cover every conceivable situation will not always exist.”
George Guenther, the former president of a hosiery factory in Reading, Pennsylvania, and a former official in that state’s and the federal labor departments, was tapped to lead the new regulatory agency. Resistance was fierce from the beginning.
One writer from Seattle complained in a letter to the White House of “un-American” and “ludicrous” regulations covering subjects such as worksite privies. Members of a bricklayers’ local in Iowa lamented the “assinine” [sic] requirement that they wear hard hats, saying “the only danger of injury to our heads is the falling of the sky and an occasional low flying bird.”
OSHA was not without support. In a letter to the secretary of health, education and welfare, a worker at a General Tire & Rubber plant in North Carolina said some of his fellow employees were “subjected to so much carbon dust that they have to use liquid detergent to cleanse their skin, not to mention the black carbon coughed up.” A worker at a Hughes Aircraft factory in Tucson, Arizona, asked the secretary of labor to investigate noxious fumes he believed had ruined his health.
The negative responses fielded in Washington, however, far exceeded the positive; members of Congress from conservative states like Wyoming and Nebraska seethed. Guenther championed his battered agency at a White House conference in February 1972, saying it had targeted for special action five toxic substances—asbestos, lead, silica, cotton dust, and carbon monoxide—and adopted a “broad set of initial standards” that were under constant review. If OSHA continued “on the path we have established,” he said, “I believe in 1990 we will be able to look back on the toll of workplace injury and illness as a thing of the past in much the same way we can now look back on polio and tuberculosis.”
Guenther, who was way off on his prediction, left the agency in early 1973. It later came out at the Watergate hearings that he’d written a memorandum discussing “the great potential of OSHA as a sales point” to win business support for Nixon’s 1972 re-election campaign. Some saw this as a craven offer to go easy on industry in exchange for political favors. Guenther had also suggested in the memo that the agency not propose any controversial standards in the short term.
In one of his final acts as president, Nixon decreed that environmental and safety rules under consideration be screened to ensure that the nation’s economic goals were not being “unduly sacrificed.” His successor, Gerald Ford, continued the policy. “Inflationary impact statements” became a sore point for union leaders. In a letter to Labor Secretary William Usery in September 1976, AFL-CIO President George Meany charged that the statements were a “macabre charade” that led to insufferable delays, and “a means of providing business management with a sounding board to set forth exaggerated claims” about the costs of complying with new rules.
The issue became moot when Ford lost to Jimmy Carter in November 1976. In a parting memo, the head of OSHA under Ford, Morton Corn, defended his tenure, saying he’d emphasized health and implemented a team approach to standard-setting, bringing together Labor Department lawyers and scientists at the start of the process rather than the end to move things along. “I estimate,” Corn wrote, “that a productivity rate of 15 to 20 health standards promulgated per year is a noble ambition in 1978 or 1979.”
In a recent interview, Corn said: “I was an optimist.”
Turning Over Rocks
In early 1977, Eula Bingham, a Kentucky-born environmental health researcher at the University of Cincinnati, got an unexpected call from the Carter transition team. Would she take over for Corn? “I laughed at them,” Bingham said. “I said, ‘I couldn’t do that; I’ve got children.’ I was divorced.” The new labor secretary, University of Texas economist Ray Marshall, talked her into it.
Bingham knew from her own work in Cincinnati that she would be besieged by requests for help from unions, like the Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers; the United Steelworkers; and the United Auto Workers, whose members were succumbing to chemical exposures in alarming numbers. “We were turning over rocks all the time,” she said. “Here would be a horrible disease, or people literally falling over. The five years before I went to OSHA, it was just zip, zip, zip, zip, zip. There was so much going on.”
OSHA had issued its first health standard, for asbestos, in 1972. In 1974 it regulated a group of 14 carcinogens—among them beta-naphthylamine, a pernicious chemical used in dyes—after litigation by the OCAW and Ralph Nader’s Public Citizen Health Research Group. The following year, responding to a cluster of rare liver cancers among workers at a BF Goodrich plant in Louisville, Kentucky, the agency moved quickly to reduce its exposure limit for vinyl chloride—used to make PVC plastic—by a factor of 500.
Bingham picked up the pace. She and Marshall won swift praise when they announced they were scrapping about 1,100 rules that had no real effect on worker health or safety—specifications for toilet seats, prescribed heights for fire extinguisher mounts—so inspectors could concentrate on more important matters. “We’re going to get tough on the health hazards in the workplace that cause irreversible injury,” Bingham told U.S. News & World Report. The magazine quoted the head of a group called Stop OSHA as saying that Bingham, like Corn, would be “eaten alive.”
For the most part, Bingham kept her word. In 1978 alone OSHA put out standards on benzene, arsenic, lead, cotton dust, the pesticide DBCP, and acrylonitrile, a flammable liquid used in plastics. It developed a generic policy that would require employers to set “lowest feasible” exposure limits for known or probable carcinogens identified by either human or animal evidence. The idea was to avoid the drawn-out, substance-by-substance vetting process; Steelworkers representative Daniel Hannan testified at an OSHA hearing that in the 5½ years it had taken the agency to adopt a standard for coke oven emissions, as many as 1,440 workers who operated the big, sooty ovens may have developed fatal diseases. “It has been a long and sad history, and we feel there has to be a faster and better way,” Hannan said.
Industry was knocked back on its heels. Trade groups like the American Iron and Steel Institute said the cancer policy could impose costs of more than $1 billion a year on businesses and urged OSHA to do a risk-benefit analysis. The policy “is characterized by a pervasive inflexibility that takes no account of variations in the properties of different chemical substances, in the production processes involved, or in the characteristics of the industries that produce or use the chemicals,” the institute said.
It was “the same kind of crap” that had been used to try to derail the coke oven standard and others, Steelworkers staffer Mike Wright, now the union’s health, safety, and environment director, complained in a July 1978 memo. Wright worried that White House economic advisers would try to “gut” the policy.
His was not an unreasonable fear. Seven months into the Carter administration, news outlets reported that a White House task force had recommended replacing most OSHA regulations with economic incentives for employers. The idea was abandoned after union leaders complained bitterly. “This proposal essentially entails the placing of a price tag on a worker’s life,” OCAW President A.F. Grospiron wrote to Marshall.
In most cases, Carter himself proved to be a supporter of worker health regulations. The textile industry, for example, opposed OSHA’s plan to crack down on cotton dust, which caused an often-lethal respiratory disease called byssinosis—brown lung. Bingham had met with victims and been moved by their plight. “The head of the group said, ‘Would you mind if we started with a prayer?’ and I said, ‘No, sir,’ and all during that prayer I could hear that [wheezing],” Bingham recalled, imitating the sound.
Under a court-imposed deadline, OSHA was preparing to issue a cotton dust standard in 1978 when Bingham and Marshall were summoned to the White House to discuss a potential snag—a claim by a textile industry official that the rule would bankrupt the industry. Bingham said she was prepared to quit if Carter insisted that the standard be watered down. Instead, he suggested something “stronger than what we had asked for. It was a shockeroo.” The final standard came out on June 23 of that year.
Carter was unhelpful, though, when it came to beryllium, a superlight, lung-damaging metal used in weapons production. Marshall sought the president’s blessing of a muscled-up beryllium standard but was outmaneuvered by the secretaries of energy and defense, who argued that the substance was vital for national security. Carter said no to a new rule; more than three decades later the old one, dating to the late 1940s, is still in place.
With a boost in funding from Congress, Bingham launched a grant program for health and safety training called New Directions; the money went to unions and regional worker advocacy groups. She commissioned and distributed edgy films such as Can’t Take No More, which featured blue-collar workers describing some of the horrific conditions they endured.
Work-related disease took prominence. Bingham and the heads of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission met regularly to discuss ways to regulate toxic chemicals. A 1978 paper by the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health estimated that at least 20 percent of all cancers in America were occupational in nature; previous estimates had been as low as 1 percent.
A Labor Department brochure announcing a 1979 seminar in Chicago decried the “massive yet silent slaughter” of “at least 100,000 Americans” per year from exposure to chemicals on the job. The florid language peeved John Danforth, then a Republican senator from Missouri, who complained in a letter to Marshall that “this kind of rhetoric fails to serve any constructive purpose, and can only strain the relationship between business and government.”
Getting Government “Off Our Backs”
On election eve, Nov. 3, 1980, Reagan gave a preview of what his administration would look like if he ascended to the White House. He would bring about “reforms that will get government off our backs, out of our pockets, and up to the standards of decency and excellence envisioned by the founding fathers.”
The following month, Democratic Rep. Charles Bennett, dean of the Florida delegation, recommended to the president-elect a replacement for Bingham: Thorne Auchter, who owned a construction company in Jacksonville, Florida. Bennett described Auchter as a “truly exceptional individual ... the kind of young, articulate, attractive person that would be a real asset to any administration.” Auchter’s curriculum vitae offered a more precise picture. “At age 28 organized the lobbying effort which killed the adoption of the Occupational Safety and Health Act by the State of Florida,” read the first item under “successful accomplishments.”
Nine days into his term, Reagan ordered a freeze on “midnight regulations” issued by the Carter administration in its waning days. Bingham’s generic cancer policy was one of them; it never went forward. Another was a rule mandating that workers receive written information about the chemicals they encountered—the hazard communication standard. (The standard was reissued by OSHA in 1983 after industry leaders complained that states were filling the void by passing their own rules; some went beyond what the federal government had planned to do.)
A review of the cotton dust standard, in particular, drew the ire of labor and triggered a vigil on behalf of brown lung victims in Washington. Murray Finley, president of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union, accused the administration of being “determined to find a basis for tearing out the heart of the standard.”
Reagan followed up the rule freeze with an executive order requiring agencies to seriously ponder the costs of all proposed regulations. Any rule that went forward would have to be reviewed and approved by the Office of Management and Budget.
Auchter, for his part, set about changing OSHA’s tenor. He suspended distribution of the Bingham films, which he deemed inflammatory, and ordered the withdrawal of a brochure whose cover included a poignant photo of a brown lung victim.
He denied a petition from Nader’s Health Research Group and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees seeking an emergency temporary standard for ethylene oxide, a carcinogenic gas mainly used by health care workers to sterilize instruments. In a letter to Health Research Group director Sidney Wolfe, Auchter said there was no evidence that ethylene oxide posed a “grave danger” to workers. A federal judge later upbraided OSHA for failing to act, saying it had made “a clear error of judgment” that put some 140,000 workers at risk.
Now retired in north Georgia, Auchter said in an interview that he sought to bring management rigor to an agency that “had a lousy reputation in the business community from which I came as being arbitrary, capricious, and overbearing.” He had his staff use injury and illness data to target high-hazard industries; injuries leading to days away from work decreased. He created a voluntary program—criticized by government auditors many years later—that exempted supposedly safety-conscious companies from routine inspections. “My feeling is that the government should regulate as little as possible,” Auchter said.
“The only thing [Auchter] wanted to do was pull back standards and make sure no new standards got out.”
Peter Infante, former head of OSHA’s Office of Carcinogen Identification and ClassificationThis hands-off approach won fans in the business community. OSHA’s enforcement staff was cut 22 percent during Auchter’s tenure; the inspectors who remained were “to give appropriate attention to matters of dress, conduct and comportment and to use the time of employers and employees wisely,” Auchter said in congressional testimony.
In a January 1982 report, the Chemical Manufacturers Association’s Occupational Safety and Health Committee offered a glowing appraisal of the new regime. “We have a unique opportunity here to revise and put in place some rules and regulations that we can live with rather than coast these [next] three years only to be blitzed vindictively again in the future,” the committee said.
Some within the agency, however, were deflated. One of Auchter’s underlings tried to fire Peter Infante, then head of OSHA’s Office of Carcinogen Identification and Classification, in 1981 after Infante testified before the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and wrote on agency letterhead to a branch of the World Health Organization, that formaldehyde caused cancer in animals, a position contrary to the administration’s. The Formaldehyde Institute, a trade group, had taken umbrage; a letter from one of its lawyers was attached to the notice of dismissal. Infante kept his job after then-Rep. Al Gore held hearings on the episode, calling it “a blatant attempt to rid the government of a competent scientist who happened not to agree with an industry whose profits are at stake.”
Infante, who left OSHA in 2002 and consults for plaintiffs in toxic-tort litigation, described Auchter as “totally anti-worker. The only thing he wanted to do was pull back standards and make sure no new standards got out.”
Elisa Braver, an epidemiologist who worked for Infante, said the agency’s health staff was “extremely demoralized” during the Auchter era. People who’d logged “crazy, crazy hours” under Bingham suddenly found themselves with not enough to do, said Braver, who left OSHA in 1984 and works for the National Transportation Safety Board. “I got quite depressed seeing what was happening.”
Auchter appears to have few regrets about his three-year stint at OSHA. Asked if the death of his son in a construction accident in 2000 had changed his thinking on workplace regulation, he answered, “No. No. No.”
Auchter did admit to one frustration: the length of time it took to set health standards, three of which came out on his watch. “I felt we improved every function of the agency except for the rulemaking process,” he said. “I spent a lot of time searching for some approach, some group of experts who could say, ‘Here’s a way you could improve it.’ I’ve not found anybody. I don’t know how to fix that.
“If I were sitting in the chair today, the first thing I’d say is, ‘It’s pretty clear we’re not gonna regulate 80,000 chemicals,’ ” Auchter said. “Good golly, I just think there ought to be a better way to do this.”
A Courtroom Loss, Little Progress Since
In January 1989, OSHA made an audacious play: It set or tightened 376 chemical exposure limits in a single rule, a move the agency estimated would eliminate 55,000 work-related diseases and 683 deaths each year, at an annual cost of $150 per worker and $6,000 per affected plant—“a fraction of 1% of the sales for all affected industry sectors.”
Legal challenges by both industry and labor—the former thought some of the exposure limits too strict, the latter too lenient—led to a crushing loss three years later. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated all 376 new limits, saying OSHA had failed to demonstrate significant risks existed under the old ones.
Reagan OSHA appointee John Pendergrass was behind the 1989 effort. “Rather than cherry-pick, which had been done over the years, I naively said, ‘Let’s do it all at one time,’ ” Pendergrass said from his home in Mobile, Alabama. “The court just shot down the whole thing. Frankly, it was a big disappointment. I don’t think it was good for the workers.” The 11th Circuit denied the Labor Department’s request for rehearing, and department lawyers decided not to petition the U.S. Supreme Court for review.
In the 1990s OSHA managed to issue 11 standards for substances such as methylene chloride, a solvent that attacks the central nervous system and is a possible carcinogen. It identified 60 other “priority substances” in need of further investigation; the list was trimmed to 20, then seven. Among the seven were manganese, a metal linked to neurological disorders, and glutaraldehyde, a medical sterilizing agent tied to asthma.
Mindful of the 11th Circuit decision, OSHA spent several years delving into the risks these substances posed and whether it was feasible for industry to control exposures. In the end, no standard was proposed.
In January 1989, OSHA made an audacious play: It set or tightened 376 chemical exposure limits in a single rule.
OSHA spent a good deal of the 1990s working on a standard designed to reduce crippling musculoskeletal injuries from repetitive-motion work, such as meatpacking and sewing. The ergonomics rule, issued in final form in November 2000, would have offered protection to more than 100 million workers, OSHA said. But a Republican Congress, taking its cue from the newly elected president, George W. Bush, and trade groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, voted to repeal it. Bush called the rule “unduly burdensome and overly broad” and said it could cost employers billions of dollars.
In the 14-plus years since the ergonomics rule was thrown out, OSHA has put out only two health standards—one on hexavalent chromium, a metal that causes lung cancer, and another reflecting an update of the hazard communication standard, which requires that workers be informed about chemicals they’re using. The chromium standard was issued under court order; by OSHA’s own calculation, it is so lame that exposed workers still face greatly elevated cancer risks.
As the Obama administration winds down, OSHA is trying to finish a standard for silica, a component of rock and sand that can cause the fatal lung disease silicosis as well as lung cancer and kidney disease. The need for such a standard was noted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health more than 40 years ago.
“The Current Paradigm”
In October 2013, OSHA issued an extraordinary press release saying that its exposure limits were “not adequately protective” and that employers should consider adhering, voluntarily, to stricter ones recommended by NIOSH or enforced by the state of California. It’s hard to imagine another regulatory agency admitting failure in such a public manner.
This is not to say that OSHA has given up. Last year it put out a “request for information”—an appeal to the public for suggestions on how to fix the broken standard-setting process. One is to regulate chemicals by category instead of individually, said David Michaels, the agency’s chief: “Let’s not worry so much about what the safe level is but say, ‘If you have a chemical in this category, here are all the things you have to do to make sure workers are protected.’ ”
“We’re going to come up with some ideas,” Michaels said. Most of them, however, probably “won’t be things we can do through regulation but we’ll need to do through legislation.”
This seems an unpromising route. “We’re going to see more timely standard-setting when Congress and the White House are more concerned with worker safety,” said Michael Silverstein, who was OSHA’s policy director for two years of the Clinton administration.
“The politics are pretty grim at the moment.”
Some wonder if the agency has been paralyzed by self-doubt, seeing hurdles where they don’t exist.
In 1980, OSHA was stung by a Supreme Court ruling that overturned its benzene standard, saying the agency hadn’t demonstrated “significant risk.” The following year, however, the court upheld the cotton dust rule after an industry challenge and made it clear that OSHA could not do a cost-benefit analysis—in effect, pricing out a worker’s life—before issuing a health standard.
And yet OSHA—which, by law, does have to demonstrate that a proposed rule is feasible—has continued to perform “de facto cost-benefit analyses,” said Eric Frumin, the former health and safety director for the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union, now with the labor consortium Change to Win. “It’s an intellectual corruption of the  act, and it’s a tremendous waste of resources.”
Chuck Gordon, a lawyer in the Labor Department’s Office of the Solicitor from 1975 to 2008, agreed that OSHA “does more analysis than it needs to. It takes too many internal steps, does too many internal reviews, writes too many long documents.”
Gordon believes OSHA could stand up more forcefully to the Office of Management and Budget. “I was at meetings with them on benzene, cotton dust, and other standards,” he said. “We had to give in on some things but in all cases maintained the integrity of the standard.” In congressional testimony in 1981, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce had made a case for strong OMB review, saying employers were “sometimes compelled by OSHA to expend much of their time, effort and safety and health dollars abating what is, in fact, a non-hazard.”
Asked to respond to criticisms of its fortitude, OSHA said in a statement that it “promulgates standards that comply with its statutory mandate. As well as the OSH Act, this includes the Paperwork Reduction Act, the Regulatory Flexibility Act and others. OSHA works closely with OMB and in accordance with laws, executive orders and legal precedents to issue standards that protect workers.”
Lawyer and former OCAW official Steve Wodka maintains that OSHA could make more frequent use of the law’s general duty clause—invoked in citation No. 1 against Allied Chemical for the pooled mercury—to punish employers that fail to control chemical hazards. Michaels himself had endorsed the idea in congressional testimony in 2007, when he was a professor at George Washington University.
Wodka, who, with his firebrand boss, Tony Mazzocchi, filed a complaint against Allied on behalf of the union, said that he and others who helped draft the act assumed OSHA wouldn’t be able to knock out many individual health standards. The law “was set up so that there would be no gaps in coverage,” he said. “It became a huge battle that runs right up to today. OSHA takes a few steps out to cite someone under [the general duty clause] and this uproar occurs.”
OSHA said it used the clause about a dozen times from 2011 to 2014 to cite violations involving airborne chemical exposures. A “very high evidentiary burden” kept it from doing so more often, the agency said in a statement. For each violation it wants to issue under the clause, OSHA has to find that the hazard can cause death or serious harm, that workers are exposed, that the hazard is recognized by the employer or the industry, and that a feasible fix exists. Moreover, there can’t be a related standard on the books.
As experts inside and outside of OSHA debate the best way forward in what seems a hopeless situation, Raphael Metzger, a lawyer in Long Beach, California, is doing brisk business.
For the past 25 years, Metzger has devoted his practice to representing workers afflicted by toxic exposures. He estimates that he’s had about 1,000 such clients, among them a young man who developed myelodysplastic syndrome—also known as pre-leukemia—after being splashed with benzene-tainted fuel on a floating dock, and a middle-age golf club maker who needed a double lung transplant after inhaling beryllium, the metal OSHA declined to regulate in the 1970s.
“These are all people who are just trying to make a living and they get horribly, horribly sick at work,” Metzger said. “Basically, we have a legal structure that allows workers to be exposed to chemicals that cause cancer and other diseases. That is accepted. That’s the current paradigm.”
The problems coming for all global labor pool workers coming to US cities deemed Foreign Economic Zones today is this: today our US hospitals and universities are now global corporations geared to predatory and profit-making health and they will not be reporting OCCUPATIONAL INJURIES OR ILLNESSES. We saw Johns Hopkins caught protecting the COAL INDUSTRY from black lung diagnosis a few decades ago---well Affordable Care Act super-sized this global corporate status where US health services will no longer be that PUBLIC HEALTH WATCHDOG-----that enforced all workforce health laws. As well, because the American people are allowing global Wall Street to CONSOLIDATE ALL ECONOMIC INDUSTRY around TECHNOLOGY AND FINANCE-----we are going to see US cities deemed Foreign Economic Zones fill with global technology factories as were in China, South Korea, TAIWAN etc. They are being brought back to the US to operate here as they do overseas.
We already know all this as global 1% Wall Street pols MOVE FORWARD-----with US no longer having any PUBLIC HEALTH DEPARTMENT.
Citizens in Asian nations signing Trans Pacific Trade Pact are being told this will lift worker health protections as all that is dismantled in the US-----
Texas citizens' top cause of death-----cancers from industrial waste because there have been no environmental or public health protections in Texas----now same for all US.
THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT PRIVATIZED ALL THAT WAS PUBLIC HEALTH PUTTING GLOBAL HEALTH CORPORATIONS IN CHARGE OF WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN ANY PERSON GETS DISEASE-OCCUPATIONAL VECTOR TREATMENT.
09 Jun 2011: Report
Toxics in the ‘Clean Rooms’:
Are Samsung Workers at Risk?
Workers groups in South Korea report an unusually high incidence of cancers and other serious diseases among employees at Samsung’s semiconductor and other electronics plants. While the company denies any link, the pattern of illnesses is disturbingly similar to that seen at semiconductor facilities in the U.S. and Europe.by elizabeth grossman
To experts in health issues relating to high-tech electronics workers, the story emerging from Samsung’s manufacturing plants in South Korea is distressingly familiar: An unusually high incidence of leukemia, lymphoma, brain cancer, and other serious diseases appears to exist among relatively young people who have worked in Samsung’s semiconductor and other chemically-intensive manufacturing plants. While direct cause and effect are difficult to prove, the South Korea situation presents striking similarities to patterns of illness seen at semiconductor plants in the United States and elsewhere in decades past.
In 2007, a 22-year-old woman named Yu-mi Hwang, who had worked at Samsung’s Giheung semiconductor plant while still in high school, died of leukemia. A year later, a 30-year-old woman who shared a workstation with Yu-mi died, also of leukemia. In March 2010, a 23-year-old woman named Park Ji-Yeon, who had worked at Samsung’s On-Yang semiconductor plant since 2004, also died of leukemia, three years after her diagnosis. In 2005, a 27-year old woman named Han Hae-kyoung, who had worked in a Samsung LCD plant since 1995, was diagnosed with a brain tumor and is now seriously disabled. Another woman, Lee Yoon-jeong, who worked for Samsung in semiconductor production between 1997 and 2003, was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2010 at age 30. As of March 2011, Korean labor and occupational health activists have counted 120 such cases of severe illnesses and 46 resulting fatalities among Samsung workers.
According to Dr. Jeong-ok Kong, an occupational health physician who has tracked these cases for the Korea Institute of Labor Safety and Health (KILSH) and other nonprofit organizations, most of the workers who have become ill with serious diseases that could be linked to their jobs worked in Samsung’s semiconductor plants. Initial studies by KILSH and an organization known as SHARPS (Supporters of Health and Rights of People in the Semiconductor Industry) have found 74 people who worked in Samsung semiconductor plants and became seriously ill; at least 26 of them have died. Fifteen additional workers who worked in LCD plants became seriously ill with these diseases, and at least five of them have died, according to Kong; three others worked in cell phone plants, and two of them have died.
“The victims we have been finding are concentrated in several ‘old’ and manual facilities,” said Kong, whose work on behalf of electronics-industry workers won a 2010 American Public Health Association Occupational Health and Safety Section Award.
“SHARPS began collecting information on these cases in 2007, but the victims have work histories that go back before 2000,” said Kong, speaking by phone from South Korea. Most of the workers known to SHARPS to have become ill were born in the 1980s and 1990s. Many were diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses in their 20s and 30s, many within well under ten years of beginning work at Samsung. Kong said similar illnesses were now being reported by workers at other Korean electronics firms.
Samsung, one of the world’s four largest electronics manufacturers, ranks among the top 40 companies on the Fortune 500 and is the largest company in South Korea. With its products accounting for about one-fifth of the nation’s exports, Samsung is extremely powerful in South Korea,
Many of the workers were diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses less than 10 years after starting at Samsung.
with more than $172 billion in sales in 2010. In addition to its extensive electronics businesses, the Samsung Group includes chemical manufacturing, heavy industry and construction, financial services (including life insurance and a credit card business), hotels, resorts, and a medical center. Samsung Electronics’ 2009-2010 sustainability report lists 157,701 employees, 80,115 of whom are listed in the “production” sector in South Korea; but it does not list how many work directly in manufacturing operations.
According to Kong, despite repeated requests by SHARPS, the Korean Ministry of Labor has not made available information showing how many Samsung employees work in manufacturing operations vs. white collar jobs; Samsung has also not provided such information. That these numbers are not public is not surprising as such details have also not been available at the initiation of epidemiological studies of the semiconductor industry in the U.S. and the UK. But it means there is no available count of the number of Samsung employees who work directly in jobs that would expose them to hazardous chemicals, which complicates efforts to establish the significance of the reported cancers and other serious illnesses.
The Samsung workers diagnosed with serious illnesses that may be linked to their employment worked in a variety of operations, according to Kong. Some worked on printed circuit boards for LCD screens; others worked in various aspects of semiconductor fabrication, including chip burning (a process that tests semiconductors by subjecting them to high heat and voltage), ion implantation, and using x-rays to check the quality of chips. While there is a lack of firmly verifiable data about the identity of all the substances used in these processes, what is known is that they involve dozens of chemicals that include organic solvents, among them benzene, and heavy metals, including lead.
Dr. Jeong-ok Kong has been an outspoken health advocate for electronics industry workers in South Korea.
Benzene and other volatile organic compounds used widely in semiconductor and other electronics manufacturing also include trichloroethylene (TCE) and methylene chloride, which are associated with cancer and nervous system damage and are also known to affect developing embryos. Benzene is classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a confirmed human carcinogen. It is known to cause leukemia and dangerous blood disorders including aplastic anemia and thrombocytopenia, a disease that interferes with blood-clotting, from which at least one Samsung worker is suffering. Benzene is also known to cause cerebral edema and kidney disorders. Exposure to TCE has also been linked to elevated levels of certain cancers, including brain cancer, leukemia, and lymphoma. Lead, mercury, and other metals used commonly in semiconductor and other electronics manufacturing are known neurotoxicants. Arsenic, also used widely in electronics production processes, is toxic to blood cells and carcinogenic.
Most of these processes involving hazardous chemicals take place in so-called “clean rooms” — manufacturing facilities where the enclosed environment is engineered to remove dust and other particles that can damage sensitive equipment such as semiconductor chips and other high-tech components. What makes this potentially significant is that air in clean rooms re-circulates rapidly. This keeps dust and other particles away from sensitive equipment and products. (Those head-to-toe coveralls known as “bunny-suits” were designed to protect microchips et al. — rather than workers — from contaminants.)
Yet this recirculation of air also increases the rate at which workers breathe chemicals and the number of workers exposed, explained Joseph LaDou, former director of the International Center for Occupational Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. When the air circulates rapidly in the clean room’s enclosed environment, the effectiveness of any hoods or filters are diminished, he explained. “In an 8-hour shift — or the longer shifts worked in Asia — clean room workers are breathing a cauldron of chemicals,” said LaDou. And when it comes to any protective standards, “there is no regulation for exposure to groups of chemicals or circulating exposure,” he noted.
“The cases at Samsung fit a pattern of what we saw in the IBM study,” said Richard Clapp, Boston University professor emeritus of environmental health and epidemiologist who conducted an epidemiological study of cancer and death rates among IBM workers between 1969 and 2001 that
A U.S. epidemiologist says the cases at Samsung ‘fit a pattern’ of what was seen in a study of IBM workers.
found elevated rates of blood, brain, lymphatic, and other cancers among workers likely exposed to manufacturing chemicals.
Said Amanda Hawes, an attorney based in San Jose, Calif., who specializes in occupational health issues related to chemical exposure: “What’s being seen at Samsung is comparable to other situations where there’s been an excess of lymphoma and leukemia incidence among workers (particularly women) working in mixed chemical environments with solvents.” Hawes has represented former IBM workers in lawsuits involving chemical exposure. (IBM has settled a number of such cases out of court.)
According to Samsung, studies conducted in 2007 and 2008 by the Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency and a private consulting team found no correlation between the workplace environment and employee illnesses. “Nevertheless,” Reuben Staines, of Samsung’s corporate communications team in Seoul, wrote in an email, “Samsung Electronics has commissioned an additional independent third-party review, which began in July of last year.” This review is being conducted by a team led by Environ International, a private consultancy, and its work will be reviewed by a panel that includes experts from Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Michigan, and other institutions. “The inspection team has been and continues to be given complete access to Samsung’s semiconductor manufacturing facilities,” wrote Staines. Samsung says it will “carefully review” the Environ findings and “make any necessary changes to our environmental safety and health infrastructure and procedures.”
In December 2010, four Korean NGOs that have been working with SHARPS and labor groups issued a critique of a report released last fall into conditions at Samsung’s semiconductor fabrication plants. The report, known as the “Advisory Report” and overseen by Seoul National University, “found no instances of regulatory breaches in our manufacturing operations,” says Samsung. However, the NGOs say the report failed to account for all the chemicals used in the various production lines (some apparently use as many as 99 different chemicals) or to fully account for how chemicals have been managed – lapses they contend include safety and monitoring equipment failures and leaks. The NGO critique also notes that both the Advisory Report and a 2006 assessment by the Korean Institute for Environment Hygiene and Safety cautioned about the potential for exposure to highly concentrated toxic chemicals despite proper operating procedures.
Samsung has taken issue with SHARPS’ assessment of workers’ health and with the critique, calling the NGO account “inaccurate and misleading” and one that “cannot be viewed as a credible epidemiological study.” One criticism is that the NGO document includes illnesses outside of the semiconductor business. Rather than the 120 cases counted by SHARPS, Samsung says it “is aware of 22 cases of leukemia or lymphoma among all
Samsung says it will ‘carefully review’ an ongoing study and make any necessary changes in procedures.
workers employed in its semiconductor business from 1998 through April 2010. Among these cases, we are aware of 10 former employees who have passed away as a result of their illnesses.”
“Samsung maintains a world-class environment, health, and safety infrastructure,” wrote Staines, “and we continually make improvements and enhancements to ensure that it is state-of-the-art. We make these ongoing investments in the normal course of business, which includes careful review and implementation of recommendations that are presented to us through credible research.”
Samsung’s findings thus far mirror what the semiconductor industry has found in its investigations undertaken in response to revelations of comparable illnesses in similar circumstances in the U.K. and the U.S. While academic epidemiologists have found higher than expected incidences of cancers among semiconductor workers based on records from National Semiconductor in Scotland and from IBM in the U.S., the companies involved and the Semiconductor Industry Association have maintained that these studies are scientifically flawed and that there is no proof of a connection between chemical exposures and these illnesses. In 2008, the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) launched a study of cancer incidence among 28,000 former New York State IBM electronics plant workers, but it does not yet have any preliminary results.
In South Korea, two lawsuits brought on behalf of sickened Samsung workers against the Korea Workers Compensation and Welfare Service are now pending. The workers are suing the government agency for denying their compensation claims against Samsung. (In Korea, the government collects workers compensation funds from employers, adjudicates, and pays out claims.) One suit has been brought on behalf of six workers, five suffering from leukemia and one from lymphoma; the other, begun in 2011, is on behalf of four workers suffering from different diseases that include brain cancer. “It is important to note that Samsung is an interested party but not a defendant in this lawsuit,” wrote Staines.
Scientists studying the effects of prenatal exposure to pesticides on the cognitive abilities of children have come to a troubling conclusion: Whether pregnant mothers are exposed in California fields or New York apartments, the chemicals appear to impair their children’s mental abilities.
Staines also noted that Samsung “has strengthened its support programs for employees who have developed serious illnesses” and that “the company is committed to providing support for hospital expenses and living expenses.” The Environ report commissioned by Samsung is due this summer.
In a May 31 email, Kong said that she had just met with the family of another leukemia victim who had worked in a semiconductor factory and was diagnosed at age 37, having worked in electronics plants for 14 years. “He had told his wife to go and meet me when he cannot overcome the cancer,” Kong wrote, “So his wife called me and we met.”
These illnesses — the blood cancers, lymphomas and nervous system and other blood diseases — are all symptomatic of solvent exposure, according to Hawes. These cases are “a red flag,” says Clapp. “If you want to find a cause for these illnesses, this is where you’d go to look.”
There has been no pols breaking down US workplace and labor protections more than CLINTON global 1% Wall Street neo-liberals and here we have CALIFORNIA---home of Foreign Economic Zones that have exposed global labor pool to $3-6 a day-----global factory labor these few decades with no workplace protections. If injured or sick immigrant labor were simply dismissed and more brought in to replace them. These few decades has seen this expand to US citizen low-wage workers with the goal of all US labor protections disappearing with Trans Pacific Trade Pact. OSHA is heavily centered on trade and blue collar jobs but there are many OSHA-related protections for white collar as well----GOING----GOING-----GOING. Obama did more to dismantle what was workmen's comp=====what was occupational health clinic and hospitalization structures than a BUSH because Clinton neo-liberals are FAR-RIGHT WING EXTREME WEALTH EXTREME POVERTY----who supported Clinton neo-liberals since the 1990s KNOWING they were killing labor? Our national taken INTERNATIONAL LABOR UNIONS.
US cities deemed Foreign Economic Zones have no labor protections----so MOVING FORWARD means if you are sick or injured----there are 5 billion global human capital ready to come to our US cities to replace you ----for a meal and a bed.
'Fortunately, Diaz was a member of the New Orleans Congress of Day Laborers, which managed to get him and his co-workers released after four months behind bars. Since then, three of the 12 workers have been deported, one has died, and Diaz faces a deportation hearing scheduled for July 20. At least until then, he is trying to publicize the cause of workers who labor in dangerous conditions, who are compelled to work long hours for no extra pay, who get cheated altogether out of their paychecks and who have, in this nation of laws, no legal recourse'.
GLOBAL WALL STREET POLS HAVE NO INTENTION OF CONTINUING ANY US LABOR LAWS ---ANY 'LABOR OR JUSTICE' ORGANIZATION PRETENDING THEY WILL ARE WALL STREET PLAYERS.
Protecting undocumented workersLegislation would expand the protection of 'U visas' to those who come forward to report workplace violations.
June 24, 2011|By Harold Meyerson
Nearly every day for three years, Josue Melquisedec Diaz reported to work by going to a New Orleans street corner where contractors, subcontractors and people fixing up their places went to hire day laborers. It was there, one day in 2008, that a contractor picked him up and took him to Beaumont, Texas, just across the Louisiana line, to work on the cleanup, demolition and reconstruction projects that Beaumont was undertaking in the wake of Hurricane Gustav.
Diaz was put to work in a residential neighborhood that had been flooded. The American workers who were involved in the cleanup, he noted, had been given masks, gloves, boots and sometimes special suits to avoid infection. No such precautions were afforded Diaz and his crew of undocumented immigrant workers. "We were made to work with bare hands, picking up dead animals," he says. "We were working in contaminated water," tearing down and repairing washed-out homes.
Diaz told his story last week to a gathering of legislators and others in a meeting room at the U.S. Capitol, just a few doors down from the Senate chamber. He said that he and his crew asked their boss for the same safety equipment given their American counterparts. Instead, Diaz said, the boss responded by cutting the undocumented workers' pay in half — at which point, Diaz and 11 others went on strike. Soon after, both the local police and immigration officers showed up to haul off the workers. The strikers were first taken to a local jail, then transferred to a federal immigration jail.
Fortunately, Diaz was a member of the New Orleans Congress of Day Laborers, which managed to get him and his co-workers released after four months behind bars. Since then, three of the 12 workers have been deported, one has died, and Diaz faces a deportation hearing scheduled for July 20. At least until then, he is trying to publicize the cause of workers who labor in dangerous conditions, who are compelled to work long hours for no extra pay, who get cheated altogether out of their paychecks and who have, in this nation of laws, no legal recourse.
Undocumented immigrants are just one among many groups of workers who effectively lack the on-the-job protections that most Americans take for granted. When the Fair Labor Standards Act, which established a national minimum wage and overtime pay, was enacted in 1938, it excluded restaurant employees and retail, domestic and farm workers. (Winning the votes of Southern senators required President Franklin D. Roosevelt to effectively exclude all occupations then largely filled by African Americans.)
In time, the act was expanded to cover some of those workers, but agricultural laborers still have no federal legal right to collect overtime, home healthcare workers have no right to the minimum wage and "tipped" workers such as waiters are entitled to a minimum of just $2.13 an hour. Nor are agricultural and domestic workers accorded the right to unionize under the National Labor Relations Act (though farm workers have won this right on the state level in California), and such low-paid independent contractors as port truckers and taxi drivers are similarly excluded.
As construction workers, the Diaz 12 actually came under the protections of wage, hour and unionization laws. But employers know they can violate these laws with impunity when their workers have no union contract and are undocumented. The odds are overwhelming that the outcome of such conflicts is worker deportation, not management fines. This de facto exemption of undocumented immigrants from the protection of workplace laws actually encourages employers to hire more undocumented workers. It is easy for management to ignore labor laws when employees can't complain.
Last week, New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez and California Reps. Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park) and George Miller (D-Martinez) introduced legislation (the POWER Act) that would give workers like Diaz provisional "U visas." The visas were designed to provide temporary legal status to immigrant victims who come forward to report violent crimes, and the proposed legislation would expand the protection to those who come forward to report workplace violations. Such legislation, Menendez pointed out, would not only protect immigrants but keep unscrupulous employers from lowering labor standards generally. "When some workers are easy to exploit," Menendez said, "conditions for all workers suffer."
That's also the message that Diaz brought to the Capitol last week. "When I was in jail, I met many workers with stories like mine, but whose voices are never heard," he said. "I made a promise to them that I would bring their stories out with me."
Harold Meyerson is editor at large of the American Prospect and an op-ed columnist for the Washington Post.
We discussed how since FDR New Deal there has been a Federal agency funding that covered all costs of any US citizen needing emergency room care even if they did not have the money. This fund reimbursed hospital emergency rooms and allowed for all citizens to feel they had access if needed. Obama ended that Federal agency folding in all that funding into state health systems -----this article shows Obama and Clinton global Wall Street neo-liberals doing the same of a once separate workmen's comp----remember our pay checks take out for these kinds of benefits----the employer pays some---the worker pays some---and we used to have a strong structure for workplace injury. Affordable Care Act ended this----now these CLINTON/OBAMA WALL STREET PLAYERS are going to PRETEND its all TRUMP's fault.
'Now the new twist. As of Oct. 1, 2016, state Medicaid programs will be able to recover all of the proceeds from a settlement that were expended on a beneficiary’s behalf. Medicaid will be able to attach a beneficiary’s third-party liability settlement (including workers’ compensation) for the entire amount of the beneficiary’s award – not just the amount allocated to medical expenses. This means funds intended to compensate beneficiaries for pain and suffering, lost wages or any damages other than medical expenses could be subject to the reach of state Medicaid agencies seeking recovery'.
So, the global 1% and their 2% nations tied to Foreign Economic Zones are telling their citizens all this is coming via Trans Pacific Trade Pact when all of this is being dismantled in the US.
Remember, $20 trillion in national debt is slated to take our Federal government into bankruptcy so they will PRETEND to need to end funding of things like Medicare and Medicaid---including now workmen's comp------------------------ALL THAT AUSTERITY
'Employees and carriers alike have to be concerned that any settlement arising out of a work-related injury could be subject to “interception” on behalf of the state Medicaid program. No winners here'.
December 10, 2015
Obamacare Expands Into Workers’ Comp
by MaryRose Reaston
A complication related to Obamacare means that Medicaid can soon demand reimbursement from workers' comp settlements.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was created to expand healthcare coverage. Unfortunately, the act has overstepped its bounds and will dip into the workers’ compensation coffers by requiring mandatory reporting for Medicaid beneficiaries.
Medicaid originated in 1965 to cover low-income people with children who had disabilities. State and federal governments fund Medicaid, with the state being the primary administrator. Each state receives direction for the program from the federal government, but eligibility for the program is based on income and assets.
Now the new twist. As of Oct. 1, 2016, state Medicaid programs will be able to recover all of the proceeds from a settlement that were expended on a beneficiary’s behalf. Medicaid will be able to attach a beneficiary’s third-party liability settlement (including workers’ compensation) for the entire amount of the beneficiary’s award – not just the amount allocated to medical expenses. This means funds intended to compensate beneficiaries for pain and suffering, lost wages or any damages other than medical expenses could be subject to the reach of state Medicaid agencies seeking recovery.
This will affect many employers because adoption of ACA has afforded broader coverage under state Medicaid programs, which now include individuals within 133% of the federal poverty level (roughly $32,252.50 for a family of four in 2015) and under the age of 65 years. Medicaid now covers a greater percentage of the workforce.
Since the inception of the Secondary Payer Act (MSP), the primary focus for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has been on Medicare reimbursement, primarily because there was a lack of federal direction to the states to recognize Medicaid’s rights and because, before ACA, the majority of Medicaid recipients were unemployed. The lack of recovery process has placed a tremendous burden on state Medicaid programs, because many of them are paying for treatment for individuals who are now covered by workers’ compensation. Medicaid needs to be reimbursed for these expenditures, because voluntary reimbursement has not been successful, resulting in many state programs experiencing insolvency.
The federal laws regarding the rights and responsibilities of recovery from parties in injury cases such as workers’ compensation had to change. These changes translate into digging deeper into an employer’s pockets and taking away more control from the employer.
The National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) is developing a model for legislation to assist in recovery efforts. If adopted, this legislation would apply to all workers’ compensation and personal injury claims for medical payments coverage and third party payments for bodily injury from insurers and self-funded primary plans. Rhode Island, West Virginia, Vermont and Kentucky are already exploring “intercept” programs to help comply with the mandatory reporting requirements. Employers that operate in many jurisdictions may have to navigate many different programs as each has distinct reporting and repayment provisions.
Workers’ compensation was never intended to be part of Medicaid. It is only because of the expanded benefit rights from ACA that more employed individuals are Medicaid recipients. Now, not only do employers have to be concerned with MSP rights for Medicare, but they also have to be concerned with Medicaid. While Medicare is a standard set of federal rules, Medicaid will vary from state to state, so compliance is not consistent.
Employees and carriers alike have to be concerned that any settlement arising out of a work-related injury could be subject to “interception” on behalf of the state Medicaid program. No winners here.
While there is no escaping the law, employers can minimize problems by ensuring that they only accept claims that arise out of the course and scope of employment (AOECOE). If an injury did not occur at work or if work did not exacerbate a condition, then it is not a work-related injury and is outside the scope of the Medicare and Medicaid Secondary Payer Acts.
The EFA-STM Program, a book-end solution for the diagnosis and management of soft tissue injuries, has proven effective in helping all stakeholders – employers, physicians and employees – by helping deliver better care for the work-related injury and identifying whether there is a change in condition; i.e. is it work related or not? The program not only is of benefit for the reduction of workers’ compensation claims, it is instrumental in helping all stakeholders navigate the Secondary Payer Acts.
Following the World Bank and IMF over decades one knows they have been behind the economic policies installed during CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA. It is they brought into developing nations these few decades of installing Foreign Economic Zones and neo-liberal economics who tell the 1% and their 2% to get rid of all worker protections, all public sector, all public trusts. These same World Bank/DAVOS SWITZERLAND global 1% have been shouting these few decades to get rid of worker's comp. We do not want PROGRESSIVE POSING from any of the global 1% and their 2% pretending to be left Clinton Wall Street neo-liberals protecting labor-----CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA dismantled all labor rights from last century and no overseas Foreign Economic Zone will see these policies INSTALLED AND ENFORCED.
'"The World Bank has caused enormous damage to workers by advising borrowing countries that labour standards should be dispensed with, and it is simply irresponsible to promote the idea that companies should not have to pay one cent of tax or social contribution," said Burrow'.
Remember, this is why US cities deemed Foreign Economic Zones like Baltimore were loaded with credit bond debt---so the World Bank and IMF can tell them to end all these US labor policies. That is why our current Baltimore City Hall Mayor and city councol were installed by election rigging and fraud---
How far can the World Bank and IMF defend workers' rights?
With their focus on public sector cuts and business-friendly deregulation, it remains to be seen how sincere the World Bank and the IMF can be in their ambitions to help workers
World Bank president Robert Zoellick, left, and IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn at the October IMF-World Bank meeting in Washington. Photograph: Yuri Gripas/Reuters
Global development is supported by About this contentVittorio Longhi
Wednesday 26 January 2011 09.15 EST
In the last few months the international financial institutions have expressed deep concern about the social impact of the recession and announced their commitment to tackling the unemployment, advocating an income-led growth, based on decent work and social protections.
On the other hand, the International Labour Organisation's latest report on global employment trends leaves little room for optimism and draws an alarming picture of joblessness that is threatening social cohesion and political stability, posing risks to recovery.
Last week the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and the World Bank president, Robert Zoellick, met a delegation of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) in Washington, confirming their desire to broaden the distribution of economic growth while extending social protections. However, beyond declarations of intent, it remains to be seen how concrete this commitment will be. For decades, the Bretton Woods institutions have promoted a market-driven development policy and conditional lending to developing countries based on public sector cuts.
In Washington, the IMF director has agreed with the unions that mitigating the social impact in crisis-hit countries was essential and he mentioned the IMF's ongoing work with the ILO to establish a universal social protection floor. As a matter of fact, under the lead of Strauss-Kahn since 2007, the IMF seems to have rediscovered the original Keynesian principles that led to its establishment in 1944: recovery is impossible without full employment, quality jobs and decent wages. Strauss-Kahn has also condemned the resumption of financial speculation by banks and bankers and called for a financial activities' tax to change the culture of banking speculation.
Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the ITUC, said that "action to regulate the financial sector must be taken at once". Nevertheless, a financial transactions tax would better provide the necessary resources for development, climate action and quality public services.
As for Robert Zoellick, he said that the World Bank will consult with trade unions at national, sectorally and global level, confirming his support for the ILO core labour standards and to workers' protections.
And yet, the World Bank's report on Global Economic Prospects, issued just two weeks ago, clearly advocates fiscal austerity in the face of jobs recovery and protections. According to the labour movement it seems "highly illogical" for the bank to promote reduced social benefits and wages when all the other international reports show that real wages are falling or stagnating.
And besides that, it's noteworthy that the bank's leading publication, Doing Business, ranks countries and economies according to how easy it is to start a business there. Despite the crisis, the 2011 report still penalises those countries that require contributions by employers for unemployment insurance, workers' compensation, pensions, maternity leave or other social protection programmes. And the bank advocates the exemption from all forms of taxation for companies, whether it be corporate income tax, social security contributions, property tax, capital gains tax or financial transactions tax.
"The World Bank has caused enormous damage to workers by advising borrowing countries that labour standards should be dispensed with, and it is simply irresponsible to promote the idea that companies should not have to pay one cent of tax or social contribution," said Burrow.
In Doing Business 2011 the "employing workers indicator" was removed from the "ease of doing business index" and country rankings, although the basic data from which the indicator is calculated remains in an annex to the report.
But until last year countries that introduced social security contributions, such as, for example, Cambodia, were seen as business-unfriendly, while regimes such as Belarus were highly ranked for making it easier to eliminate jobs, even though the country had already lost its preferential trade status with the European Union for violating fundamental workers' rights such as freedom of association and collective bargaining.
In the 2010 edition of Doing Business, the "top reformer" prize was won by Rwanda, because employers were no longer required to consult with the employees' representatives or notify the labour inspector before announcing job cuts.
So it seems fair to have very little trust in the international financial institutions' actual engagement in a socially sustainable recovery. Can they really be a part of the solution, since they helped create the system that has led to such global economic imbalances?
If the IMF and the World Bank are really committed to mitigating the impact of the global recession, as they so often say, then they should be fighting now for workers' rights. And they should actually mean what they say.
Since enslaving global labor and building a global human capital slave trading structure is a very far-right extreme wealth and extreme poverty thing to do----we KNEW TRUMP AND THIS LABOR SECRETARY would not stop the global labor pool filling our US cities deemed Foreign Economic Zones.
'Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Labor strongly defended immigration reform in remarks several years ago and also criticized border security as a waste of money and overly intrusive — positions that put him at odds with the president-elect’s campaign promises to crack down on immigration'.
The problem for these global labor pool workers is Trump will create that far-right, authoritarian, militaristic, $3-6 a day for global factory $20-30 a day for sweat shop professional work environment here in the US that has existed overseas in Foreign Economic Zones. So, posing progressive on protecting all those last century labor rights shows who the Wall Street players are.
As well, TRUMP is now saying he is not getting rid of Affordable Care Act and why should he? It is the most far-right global 1% Wall Street health policy straight from a Republican think tank---including the insurance mandate. ACA is the mirror of a deregulated, consolidated, global Wall Street and will operate as such. So, how will a global fast food executive operate any different than a global 1% and their 2% PEREZ? Not at all different. PEREZ laid the groundwork of weakening immigration laws with the intent of building immigrant density in US cities deemed Foreign Economic Zones----they installed a Latino Labor Secretary to do that to make it look social progressive for immigrants ----but they will be enslaved in these US cities just as they are around the world. Global fast food is the biggest user of global labor pool--they are the biggest promoter of robotics-----and they have no intention of installing a $15 a hour---
The goal of global labor pool it to remove all sovereign citizen status----to keep labor from being able to organize because they are constantly kept moving to new Foreign Economic Zones----so there is NO intention of pathway to citizenship for the 99% of global immigrant workers-----whether CLINTON/BUSH/OR OBAMA. The only expedited pathway is for the global 1% and their 2% able now to buy their citizenship immediately------------------------------
'Andrew Puzder, CEO of the fast-food chain conglomerate CKE Restaurants, said that passing immigration reform that offered a path to legalization for many of the millions of undocumented immigrants in the country was “the right thing to do”'
Trump’s pick as labor secretary: Legalizing immigrants is ‘the right thing to do’
Senior National Affairs Reporter
Yahoo NewsDecember 8, 2016
Andrew Puzder, chief executive of CKE Restaurants, leaves a meeting with president-elect Donald Trump at Trump International Golf Club, Nov. 19, 2016, in Bedminster Township, N.J. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Labor strongly defended immigration reform in remarks several years ago and also criticized border security as a waste of money and overly intrusive — positions that put him at odds with the president-elect’s campaign promises to crack down on immigration.
Andrew Puzder, CEO of the fast-food chain conglomerate CKE Restaurants, said that passing immigration reform that offered a path to legalization for many of the millions of undocumented immigrants in the country was “the right thing to do” and would boost the economy, in a question-and-answer session organized by conservative think tank the American Enterprise Institute in 2013.
Puzder’s belief that immigration reform could be an economic boon was once firmly implanted in the Republican mainstream, with Republicans willing to join a bipartisan effort to pass comprehensive immigration reform as recently as 2013. But the victory of Trump, who campaigned on building a giant wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and said that Mexico has sent “rapists” to the United States, demonstrated that the Republican base rejects that thinking.
“If we had immigration reform and were able to hire these people who really want to work, we’d have a more diverse, incentivized and productive workforce,” Puzder said in 2013. “You’d really reinforce this idea that the United States is the land of opportunity, the land of entrepreneurial vision — and that could use some reinforcing.”
Puzder said that his fast-food chain’s workforce in California, where a greater share of employees were Latino, was more productive and motivated than some of his employees in other areas of the country.
“Our Hardee’s restaurant operators in the Midwest and Southeast often use the labor force in California as an example of what they would like their labor force to be,” Puzder said. “They’re very hard-working, dedicated, creative people that really appreciate the fact that they have a job --whereas in other parts of the country, you often get people that are saying, ‘I can’t believe I have to work this job.’ With the immigrant population, you always have the ‘Thank God I have this job’ kind of attitude. So, you end up with a real different feeling.”
Puzder stressed that this observation was a “gross generalization” and that many people of all races and backgrounds were grateful to have a job.
The CEO didn’t just argue that immigration reform would boost the economy, but also that it was the moral choice. “It’s the right thing to do,” he said. “It’s the country that we are, it’s the people that we are, and we need to foster that image across the world and in the United States.”
Puzder also praised E-Verify, which allows employers to ensure they are only hiring people who are authorized to work in the country. “E-Verify is actually very, very helpful to business owners who really just want to comply with the law,” he said.
What Puzder singled out for criticism was the emphasis on border security in the GOP-authored immigration reform bill at the time. The bill proposed doubling the number of Border Patrol agents at the time to 40,000. “As an American — not as a CEO, but as an American, it does bother me a little bit for a couple reasons,” he said. “One is, as a conservative and a Republican, we’re trying to keep the deficit down — this is another $40 billion in spending, which you hate to see. And secondly, I don’t know when it became a conservative Republican principle that increasing the size and intrusiveness of the government is a good thing.” He pointed add that the number of people attempting to cross the border illegally was down dramatically from its height in the 1990s.
Trump’s pick for the Department of Homeland Security, Gen. John Kelly, will have far more to do with enforcing immigration law than Puzder will. But as Dara Lind at Vox points out, the Labor Department is in charge of making sure employers who use foreign workers are complying with the law. Puzder’s agency would lead any investigations into companies’ potential abuse of H1-B visas, for example, which are meant to go to skilled foreign workers when employers’ can’t find native workers to fill the slots.
Immigration hardliners objected to the choice of Kelly to lead DHS on Wednesday, although they hold out hope that Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who designed laws to increase deportations of undocumented immigrants, will be picked as his deputy.
Here is a right wing media outlet who allowed Trump to POSE CONSERVATIVE. We knew Trump was simply another CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA who would MOVE FORWARD ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE US CITIES AS FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONE POLICIES. Trump never intended to hate immigrants, Muslims, GBLT, closed borders-----as we see here Trump and his labor secretary are OPEN BORDERS-----that global ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE stance. So, Republican voters were yet again fooled while Obama Democratic voters are as mad. BOTH PRIMARIES ARE RIGGED FOR THESE GLOBAL WALL STREET PLAYERS. What global Wall Street has to do is MAKE THE GLOBAL LABOR POOL think coming to US will assure better working conditions---that is why Trump and his Labor Secretary is saying the same thing about immigrant labor as Obama and his Labor Secretary. Trans Pacific Trade Pact which Trump embraced as Hillary and Obama did will put US cities as Foreign Economic Zones on the same level as those overseas so Asian, African.Latino immigrant workers in the US will soon be working as Asian sweatshop labor. Meanwhile, US workers will be prepared to be sent overseas to Foreign Economic Zones in Bahrain, Malaysia, China, Singapore, and be told WE THE PEOPLE WILL WORK AS THEY DO OVERSEAS, Where in the world will our children and grandchildren be sent to become that global labor pool with NO SOVEREIGN CITIZEN RIGHTS?
'Last year, Puzder even joined forces with Michael Bloomberg, Bob Iger, and Rupert Murdoch’s open borders lobbying firm, the Partnership for a New American Economy, to call for “free-market solutions” to our immigration system'.
Global Wall Street is desperate to make global labor pool workers feel they are coming to something better in US cities deemed Foreign Economic Zones when in fact operations will be the same as overseas.
Trump Expected to Tap Labor Secretary Who Prefers Foreign Labor to American Workers
by Julia Hahn8 Dec 2016Washington D.C.
President-elect Donald J. Trump is expected to name as his Labor Secretary fast food executive Andy Puzder, who stands diametrically opposed to Trump’s signature issues on trade and immigration — which won him the election.
Puzder is the chief executive of CKE Restaurants, which includes Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s.
Inauguration Day Preps Underway at US CapitolAdvocates for American wage-earners say that Puzder as Secretary of Labor is alarming because he will be in charge of enacting policies that directly impact American workers, whom Puzder believes are “unwilling” to do certain jobs. Puzder has suggested that available U.S. jobs should instead be filled by imported foreign labor.
Puzder has even gone so far as to suggest that he prefers foreign laborers to native-born American workers because foreign nationals are more grateful and have a better “attitude.”
“The fact is that there are jobs in this country that U.S. citizens, for whatever reason, are reluctant or unwilling to perform,” he said in a 2013 Politico op-ed in which he advocated for expansionist immigration policies.
As the Washington Post reported, Puzder suggested that flipping burgers is one such job Americans simply won’t do:
“Andrew Puzder, head of the California-based Hardee’s fast-food chain, said his business is a good fit for immigrants because they are willing to start at the bottom and work up…
“Immigrants appreciate what America offers,” Puzder said during a recent visit to Washington to lobby for immigration reform. “They are not taking jobs from Americans, because there are not sufficient Americans applying for jobs. Maybe they feel they have better options.”
Acclaimed Manhattan Institute scholar Heather Mac Donald was critical of Puzder’s logic in a piece titled, “Does America Need More Hamburger-Flippers?” Mac Donald wrote:
Isn’t the argument for importing low-skilled immigrants that they take jobs that Americans won’t do? Farm labor is almost certainly one of those hard-to-fill jobs, but it’s news to me that working a fast-food counter is another — unless perhaps that niche becomes dominated by Mexican or Central American immigrants. A black kid from Watts is going to have a hard time getting hired at a Carl’s Jr. in South Central L.A. where all the employees speak to each other in Spanish.
Polling data suggests that Puzder’s desire to import foreign workers to fill U.S. jobs stands opposed to the desires of the American electorate.
Indeed, a 2014 poll from Kellyanne Conway’s polling company found that by nearly a 10-1 margin, Americans believe that companies should raise wages and improve working conditions for workers already here – rather than importing new foreign labor from abroad to fill American jobs.
Yet, during a 2013 AEI panel, Puzder seemed to express his preference for foreign workers over native-born Americans. Puzder said that his California labor force, which has a high percentage of foreign-born workers, is comprised of “hardworking, dedicated, creative people that really appreciate the fact that they have a job. Whereas in other parts of the country you often get people who are saying, ‘I can’t believe I have to work this job.’ With the immigrant population you always have a “Thank-God-I-have-this-job” kind of attitude, so you end up with a real different feeling. Now that’s a gross generalization… but I think it’s probably accurate.”
Last year, Puzder even joined forces with Michael Bloomberg, Bob Iger, and Rupert Murdoch’s open borders lobbying firm, the Partnership for a New American Economy, to call for “free-market solutions” to our immigration system.
“America should be a destination for hard-working immigrants from all over the world. Our economy will benefit from that,” Puzder wrote, perhaps unaware of the fact that the U.S. already has the world’s most generous immigration system– admitting one million plus foreign nationals on green cards; one million guest workers, dependents, and refugees; and half a million foreign students each and every year.
Puzder has been equally vocal about his support for immigration amnesty.
In 2013, Puzder lamented that the federal government’s current immigration policy is unfair to “undocumented workers who are lured to the country by the prospect of employment, [but] then must live in the shadows.”
Similarly, in a 2015 op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal’s open borders opinion pages, Puzder declared that “every candidate should support a path to legal status” for all illegal immigrants “willing to accept responsibility for their actions”.
In a July 2016 Wall Street Journal op-ed co-authored with Stephen Moore, Puzder insisted that the President-elect’s plan to enforce U.S. immigration law and repatriate the illegal population is “unworkable.”
“[Many undocumented immigrants] live in fear of being deported, losing what they’ve built and being separated from their families,” Puzder separately told reporters during a 2015 conference call with top GOP donors. “Our values indicate we should be the party of immigration reform.”
By “immigration reform” Puzder was referring to a widely-used progressive euphemism that means amnesty and flooding the labor market with foreign workers. Indeed, as Puzder himself explained in 2013, “comprehensive immigration reform” should include “a robust legal immigration program, including incentives for highly educated people to come to the U.S. and a guest worker program; a pathway to adjusted status for those here illegally now; and special relief for the children of undocumented immigrants.”
“The reality is that the government is not going to enforce the law effectively now against those who are here unlawfully,” Puzder wrote in 2013.
The United States, Puzder reasoned, simply lacks “the will” to enforce U.S. immigration law:
There are more than 11 million illegal immigrants in our country. Many have families, homes, jobs and children who are American citizens. We simply are not going to take them from their homes, put them in prisons, load them on buses and take them back over the border. Nor will we enact draconian measures that drive them from their homes or their jobs and force them to “self-deport.” As a nation, we lack both the will and the resources to implement such policies.
More recently, Puzder has argued that “deportation should only be pursued when an illegal immigrant has committed a felony or [has] become a ‘public charge’.”
However, President-elect Trump himself explained why only enforcing some aspects of U.S. immigration law would be unfair to American workers. During his immigration speech delivered in Phoenix, Arizona, Trump said:
Immigration law doesn’t exist just for the purpose of keeping out criminals. It exists to protect all aspects of American life – the worksite, the welfare office, the education system and much else. That is why immigration limits are established in the first place. If we only enforce the laws against crime, then we have an open border to the entire world.”
In his 2016 Wall Street Journal op-ed, Puzder also described himself as a “free trader” who “oppose[s] punitive tariffs.”
Many have credited Trump’s pro-American worker stance on trade as part of the reason he was able to break through the left’s “blue wall” in states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
As MSNBC’s Chris Matthews explained on election night, Trump won, in large part, due by running against the Washington establishment’s position on trade and immigration:
The fact that we don’t have an immigration system that we enforce: business wants the cheap labor, Democrats want the jobs and the votes. Nobody’s gotten it together. In terms of trade… just drive through Michigan, drive through Wisconsin, and you’ll see places that are hollowed out…Trump said, ‘You know what, I think I can run against this stuff.’ … It was a legitimate campaign on those issue.
It remains to be seen whether Puzder will abandon his former open borders positions on these issues and will take up Trump’s pro-American worker platform on trade and immigration, which won him the election.