In an anti-woman and anti-worker move, the Senate voted yesterday to repeal the ergonomics standard established under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). All 50 Senate Republicans and six Senate Democrats voted against the measure. Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Barabara Mikulski (D-MD) and Barabra Boxer (D-CA) joined labor leaders at a recent press conference to speak out in support of the OSHA standard. The standard would have required employers to redesign workplaces and compensate workers for injuries resulting from repetitive motion. “‘Dishonest’ and Ôdisgraceful’ are not strong enough words to describe the senate vote against injured workers in Congress tonight. The vote raises the stakes for action in the house.” John Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO. The House is scheduled to vote on the measure today.
The OSHA ergonomics standard would cover 102 million workers, and would primarily affect women, who represent 64 percent of repetitive motion injuries that result in lost work time. OSHA also estimates that it would prevent 4.6 muscoloskeletal disorders per year and would save businesses $9.1 billion annually in the first 10 years. Republicans and big business interest groups argued that the measure was “too costly.” But John Sweeney asserts, “The same businesses that are swarming Capitol Hill this week have turned their backs on workers’ safety, workers’ pay and workers’ family needs at every juncture.” TAKE ACTION TODAY and e-mail your Representatives.