AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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AFT Resolutions

PUBLIC EMPLOYEE SAFETY AND HEALTH RESOLUTION

WHEREAS, public sector employees work in some of the most dangerous workplaces in the country, such as prisons, mental hospitals, youth detention centers, highway maintenance and long-term care facilities; and

WHEREAS, the injury rates at some of these sites are more than double the national average for general industry, causing disabling injury, pain and suffering, lost work time and millions of dollars in lost wages and workers' compensation; and

WHEREAS, many public sector buildings, including offices, institutions and schools, are suffering from cutbacks in maintenance and sanitation due to fiscal cutbacks leading to indoor air quality problems; and

WHEREAS, back injuries, slips and falls, assaults on staff and infectious diseases are common in many public sector workplaces and yet OSHA has no standards to address workplace violence, ergonomics, tuberculosis or indoor air quality; and

WHEREAS, the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 assures "every working man and woman in the nation safe and healthful working conditions," yet every year more than 100,000 die because of unsafe and unhealthy working conditions; and

WHEREAS, in half of the states public sector workers have no OSHA protection whatsoever, leaving 7.4 million public employees without recourse when faced with dangerous working conditions; and

WHEREAS, under OSHA's current funding, it would take an average of 84 years to inspect all American workplaces; and

WHEREAS, the 1994 elections swept into national and state governments a horde of anti-labor legislators who have aimed their sights at dismantling the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and removing enforcement of workplace safety regulations; and

WHEREAS, there is an unprecedented attack on OSHA in Congress evidenced in proposed OSHA "reform" legislation including the Ballenger bill (H.R. 1834) and Kassebaum bill (S. 1423) that would cripple the agency; in proposed regulatory reform legislation; and in proposed appropriations cuts; and

WHEREAS, any weakening or cuts in OSHA will have a commensurate negative impact on the 25 states that provide OSHA coverage to public employees; and

WHEREAS, these facts demonstrate that OSHA needs to be strengthened, not weakened; and

WHEREAS, the American Federation of Teachers represents nearly 1 million workers in both the private and public sectors who are threatened by the congressional attacks on OSHA:

RESOLVED, that the AFT will use its resources and mobilize its members and allies to oppose (H.R. 3234) and (S. 1423) or any other anti-OSHA bill; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT is in full support of extending OSHA coverage to all public sector workers and will work to achieve this important goal; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will oppose any cuts in OSHA's budget or attempts to shift funding away from enforcement activities; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT recognizes the need for new OSHA standards on workplace violence, ergonomics, tuberculosis and indoor air quality and will continue to pursue promulgation of such standards.


(1996)