Steve Sallman discusses workers’ safety during COVID-19 on The Leslie Marshall Show

USW Assistant Director of the Health, Safety and Environment Department Steve Sallman appeared on the Leslie Marshall show last week to discuss Workers Memorial Day and the Trump administration’s responsibility to workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On April 28, the USW conducted its annual Workers Memorial Day ceremony online, honoring the 29 people who lost their lives in USW represented workplaces past year. That number is likely even higher, Sallman said, due to the unknown number of coronavirus-related deaths.

“We mourn their loss and the loss of all the victims of this cruel disease across our nation, and globally,” said Sallman. “Unfortunately, we are not dealing with this as a country the way we should be dealing with it.”

Unions, including the USW, have made a series of common-sense recommendations for employers to keep workers safe, which have been successfully implemented in some workplaces.

But the biggest challenge has been the lack of leadership from the federal government, including the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which has yet to issue an emergency temporary standard for infectious disease.

Unions sounded the alarm on this issue in a petition to Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia in early March, but to no avail. Now, the USW is backing H.R. 6559, the COVID-19 Every Worker Protection Act, which would require OSHA to issue an enforceable standard for COVID-19 preparedness, Sallman said.

“Workers are looking for leadership from our government, and they’re not getting it,” said Sallman. “We need an emergency temporary standard for essential workers and health care workers, and we needed it yesterday. There’s no why reason the government can’t start enforcing that now.”

Sallman also addressed the Trump administration’s targeting of the Chemical Safety Board, which conducts important safety investigations in USW-represented workplaces, as well as the rollback of chemical safety regulations.

“We need a government to step up and lead, and hopefully people remember that when they cast their votes, and not just for president.”

For the entire interview about the administration’s responsibility to workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, click below:

USW New Media · Steve Sallman discusses workers’ safety during COVID-19 on The Leslie Marshall Show

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