In the last two years, the California Legislature has provided the Department of Industrial Relations with significantly increased financial resources to enhance the effectiveness of Cal/OSHA and better protect the 19 million workers in the state. DIR has failed to take full advantage of these resources to strengthen Cal/OSHA while at the same time it has provided refunds to employers who have paid the fees that generate these unused resources. The net effect is a Cal/OSHA that is weaker and less effective than it could be if all available resources were put to work. The people who pay the cost of these resources “left on the table” are the workers of California and their families and communities.
The feds grant billions in contracts to shipbuilders with serious worker safety lapses; Texas lawmakers want to undo an Austin initiative that protects construction workers; Chevron agrees to highest fine in Cal/OSHA history after refinery fire; and Democrats hope to ban a dangerous pesticide after EPA fails to act.
Five-part series investigates worker safety and lax accountability at nuclear facilities; workers at port trucking companies in Southern California report conditions mirroring indentured servitude; seventh journalist murdered in Mexico since beginning of 2017; and a new farmworkers union is born in Washington.
Environmental justice and labor groups in California were relentless in their demand to make refineries safer. Their years of effort paid off with an announcement last week by the state of new refinery safety regulations.
Labor-Enviro-Community coalition wins stronger California oil refinery regulations and showcases a winning strategy for worker and community health
Last month, California’s Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) proposed revised and stronger regulations for oil refineries in the state after a 4½-year joint campaign by labor unions, environmental and community organizations. The successful strategic coalition is a powerful example of how health and safety regulations can be improved despite an industry’s wealth, power and political influence.
A just published book – Refinery Town: Big Oil, Big Money and the Remaking of an America City – describes how a decade of local organizing and year-round campaigning has resulted in impressive local victories in a Black, white and Asian town dominated by Chevron corporation. Richmond, California, has set an example and registered successes by local left wing campaigners that contain important and hopeful lessons about uniting allies and successfully defending health, safety and democratic rights.
The Center for Public Integrity investigates working conditions inside the nation's oil refineries; mine safety advocates worry about changes under a Trump administration; garment workers in Bangladesh continue to face abusive conditions; and workers chronicle sexual harassment and retaliation within the National Park Service.
Safety advocates say, if done right, this has potential to improve process safety management of highly hazardous chemicals nationwide.
Restaurant workers in California experience severe injuries and disability; OSHA pushes back against a judge's ruling in poultry plant inspection case; Gov. Chris Christie vetoes a $15 minimum wage bill; and the women making Nike products in Vietnam often earn poverty wages and face grueling production expectations.
DuPont's Board of Directors were challenged by shareholders to address the firm's defective worker safety program.