USW Applauds Worker-Friendly Choices for OSHA Leadership Roles

Contact: R.J. Hufnagel, 412-562-2450,

The United Steelworkers (USW) today praised incoming President Joe Biden’s decision to tap workplace safety advocates James S. Frederick and Joseph T. Hughes Jr. for leadership positions in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Frederick, who will serve as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, comes to the job following three decades of work to improve worker health and safety, including 25 years in the USW’s health, safety and environment department.

“There is no stronger advocate for worker safety in this country than Jim Frederick,” said USW International President Tom Conway. “He brings to OSHA not just a deep commitment to safer workplaces for all Americans, but the expertise and experience to get the job done right.”

Until 2019, Frederick served as assistant director and principal investigator for the USW’s health, safety and environment department. In that role, he provided oral and written testimony to congressional panels and federal agencies that led to progress on countless workplace safety issues, including workplace violence, beryllium, silica, hazard communication and ergonomics.

Hughes, who will serve as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Pandemic and Emergency Response for OSHA, also brings with him a strong commitment to workers. Previously, he was the director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Worker Education and Training Program, which provided grants to unions, companies and nonprofits to train rank-and-file workers on occupational health and safety.

“For nearly a year, American workplaces have needed an emergency workplace standard to help them fight the spread of COVID-19,” Conway said. “This is one more signal that OSHA will be doing the job that it was intended to do after four years of neglect.”

Conway said that the Biden administration’s proactive approach will be a welcome change.

“There has been a void in our executive branch of our government that we will finally see filled,” Conway said. “Working Americans deserve leaders of intellect and empathy who not only understand what it’s like to work for a living, but who will fight for the rights, health, safety and well-being of them and their families.”

The USW represents 850,000 workers employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in health care, public sector, higher education, tech and service occupations.

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-6961

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor R.J. Hufnagel

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

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United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222