Skip to main content

AFSCME welcomes the Public Service Worker Protection Act

Photo credit: Ljubaphoto/Getty Images
AFSCME welcomes the Public Service Worker Protection Act
By AFSCME Staff ·

Our union supports the Public Service Worker Protection Act, a bill that would expand on-the-job health and safety protections to public service workers. We urge Congress to pass it.

The bipartisan proposal, introduced last Friday by Rep. Chris Deluzio (D-Pa.) and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), seeks to expand the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to include public sector workers under its defined protections. In doing so, it would help improve workplace safety for millions of public service workers.

“Every worker, regardless of what they do or whom they work for, deserves to be safe and healthy on the job,” AFSCME President Lee Saunders said in a press release. “Yet, 23 states actively exclude public service workers from Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) coverage, leaving nearly 8 million front-line professionals in public safety, health care, sanitation, education and more exposed to dangerous working conditions.”

Saunders also pointed out that the injury rate among state and local public sector workers is much higher — 81% higher — than that of their counterparts in the private sector.

“This disparity is an insult to those who have devoted their careers to helping others, and it compromises the public services we all depend on,” he added.

The 1970 law created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), whose mission is to “assure America’s workers have safe and healthful working conditions free from unlawful retaliation.” While the law protects some public service workers, it does not necessarily cover workers at state and local government agencies.

In addition to AFSCME, the bill is supported by the Communications Workers of America (CWA), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), the National Education Association (NEA) and the AFL-CIO.

Related Posts