Kamala comes to Philly in support of workers and announces new heat regulations
The new regulations announced by the Vice President will have OSHA begin inspecting workplaces for heat issues.
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On Tuesday April 12, Vice President Kamala Harris visited Philadelphia to speak at a rally calling for new regulations to support American workers.
Harris was joined by Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, Gov. Tom Wolf, Mayor Jim Kenney, as well as members of Congress and the Senate.
Harris spoke to a crowd of hundreds of people outside the Sheetmetal Workers Union Hall in South Philadelphia, where she announced that the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) will begin inspecting workplaces for heat issues that may impact workers.
“As we head into Summer, workers around the country will get started on projects, thanks to our Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding. I announced new actions that will protect our workers from extreme heat. It's important that we ensure our workers are safe on the job,” Harris wrote in a tweet on Wednesday, April 13.
As part of this program, OSHA will be inspecting over 70 high-risk industries in both indoor and outdoor workplaces when the National Weather Service issued a heat advisory warning for an area.
“The danger posed by extreme heat has been ignored and overlooked for far too long. And that danger is only increasing because as we know, climate change has become a climate crisis,” Harris told the crowd.
On days when the heat index rises above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, OSHA specialists will engage in outreach and technical assistance to keep workers safe. They will also search for and address any heat hazards during inspections.
“Our goal is to make it safe for workers in hot indoor and outdoor environments, so that they can return home safe and healthy at the end of each day,” said Assistant Secretary Doug Parker in a statement on OSHA’s website.
U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh expounded on the issues of heat-related issues facing workers. He informed the crowd that the Biden administration is working to integrate new regulations to fight back against these problems brought on by climate change.
“From farm workers in CA to construction workers in TX and warehouse workers in PA, we are working to ensure workers in every community know their rights and employers meet their obligations to protect workers from the growing dangers of extreme heat,” Walsh wrote on Twitter, linking his followers to a White House fact sheet on the administration’s plans.
Walsh, a former Boston Mayor and union leader, also said that the administration is not afraid to say the word “union.” He added that the Biden infrastructure bill has high standards to build a “middle class for all.”
Harris also spoke about the significance of unions for workers throughout American history.
“Each and every day in ways big and small, unions change lives, unions negotiate better wages and safer working conditions for millions of workers around our country,” Harris said.
President of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, Liz Shuler, said that the Biden-Harris administration is one of the most “pro-union” administrations so far.
“It looks like a national labor relations board that is ready to put an end to the days of captive audience meetings and bosses cornering employees about unions. Put that away. It looks like an administration that puts working people at the heart of their plans for recovery and for the future,” Shuler said.