In their new book On the Job: The Untold Story of Worker Centers and the New Fight for Wages, Dignity, and Health (New Press, 2021), Celeste Monforton and Jane M. Von Bergen tell the stories of workers who band together and fight for safer and more humane workplaces in which they’re paid for the hours they work.
On January 21, President Biden signed an executive order directing OSHA to consider issuing an emergency temporary standard to protect workers from COVID-19, with a March 15 deadline. More than a month later, workers are still waiting.
We’re hearing more and more about a post-pandemic new normal. But unless we, as a nation, take stronger actions to protect workers, the new normal won’t be different from the old one, with the most vulnerable workers still at the most risk of injury and death.
The determinant of health that likely has the greatest impact on public health and health equity may be the one most public health professionals have the least to say: the ideological direction of the country.
A week after taking the oath of office, President Biden signed a sweeping presidential memorandum that takes several welcome steps to ensure government scientists can do their jobs without political interference. A week after that, Representative Paul Tonko reintroduced the Scientific Integrity Act, which would enshrine into law many of the safeguards that Biden’s memorandum specifies.
For more than four decades, each spending bill Congress passes has contained a discriminatory and harmful rider: the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or life-endangering pregnancies. A House Appropriations subcommittee hearing addressed its harms, which disproportionately fall on Black and Brown women.
Recommendations to several federal agencies for undoing damage to scientific integrity are in the new resource “Restoring Science, Protecting the Public: Recommendations for Federal Agencies in the Next Presidential Term.”