How Biden Could Revamp Worker Health Protections During the Deadly Pandemic

Labor News

Reprinted from The Washington Post by Eli Rosenberg on November 13, 2020.

Worker advocates and former labor officials say they believe President-elect Joe Biden will push to revamp and strengthen the federal agency charged with enforcing workplace safety soon after taking office in January, a significant shift in the middle of a brutal pandemic. Workplace safety is incredibly important within any workplace setting, employees need to feel like they are remaining safe at work and their employers are doing what they can to implement that. So if a staff member is injured on the job in any way, then they need to be able to contact a personal injury law firm in Nashville or a firm near where they reside so they can see if there is a case to be made, especially as we are entering a time where everyone is on edge about their health.

The Trump administration has largely avoided taking major actions against companies whose workers became sick with or died of the coronavirus, and Biden has said he wants to ramp up enforcement to better keep workers safe.

As for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which is charged with upholding workplace safety, including hazard identification and control systems, ensuring compliance, implementing height safety measures (by hiring height safety services or otherwise), employee training, etc, it is likely to be a key focus. Biden could take action immediately at OSHA by ramping up inspections, filling vacancies and creating a safety standard that workplaces would be required to follow during the pandemic.

Zoellik: Here’s How Biden Can Work with a GOP-Controlled Senate and Make Real Progress

Reprinted from The Washington Post by Robert Zoellick on November 13, 2020.

“Last week,” writes Robert Zoellick in The Washington Post, “Americans showed how democracies work. Amid a pandemic, with sharp political divisions and a huge shift to balloting by mail, poll workers served diligently, state and local officials explained carefully, and more than 150 million citizens voted responsibly. While China, in the Maoist tradition, this fall has moved a step closer toward anointing Xi Jinping as party chairman for life, the people of the United States voted to send Donald Trump home.

“Yet an expected Democratic ‘blue wave’ only trickled ashore. Republicans will likely keep a Senate majority, add House seats and maintain their majorities in state legislatures. Referendums in California and Illinois – Democratic states – turned back signature causes of the new progressive era.

“As president, Joe Biden will need to learn the art of working with a Congress controlled in part by the other party. Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush mastered this skill, as did Bill Clinton later in his presidency. But it is hard to do. The executive branch must make congressional friends, accept some opposition ideas, negotiate big initiatives that appeal to both sides (such as the 1986 tax reform bill and the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act), and maneuver to win swing votes. This approach should be natural for Biden. The president-elect should start by calling every senator to establish a personal line of contact. …

Washington Post 11/13

About Jeffrey Burman 861 Articles
Jeff Burman served on the Guild’s Board of Directors from 1992 to 2019. He is now retired. He can be reached at