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Legislative Alert: April 28, 2023

New York State AFL-CIO
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President's Message

These Common-Sense Measures Will Keep Workers Safer

We observe April 28 as Workers Memorial Day and pause to mourn the loss of all those who have died on the job. And we recommit ourselves to doing everything we can to ensure that no worker suffers that fate in the future. Fifty-two years ago, the Occupational Safety and Health Act went into effect, promising every worker the fundamental right to a safe job. The law was won because of the tireless efforts of the union movement and our allies who fight on behalf of working people.

While workplaces are safer and lives have been saved as a result, each year thousands of workers are killed and millions more suffer injury or illness simply by performing their jobs.

The NYS AFL-CIO strongly supports two bills that are before the legislator right now that can make workplaces safer. The Warehouse Worker Injury Reduction Act would protect workers doing manual warehouse work from injury resulting from poorly designed work equipment and tasks. Warehouse workers suffer serious work-related injuries at a rate more than twice the average injury rate for all private industries. They spend hours lifting and twisting to move items and too often suffer musculoskeletal disorders such as muscle strains as a result.

The Warehouse Worker Injury Reduction Act (S5081 Ramos) requires workplaces to identify workplace hazards and provide safety training for workers who are routinely moving items. This new bill builds on last year’s Warehouse Worker Protection Act, which created basic health and safety standards to protect warehouse workers from inhumane quotas.'

A second bill that would make workplaces safer is the Temperature Extreme Mitigation Program Act (TEMP Act), (S1604A Ramos, A3321A Joyner), which would regulate the temperature of indoor and outdoor work sites. This bill would protect workers in construction, landscaping, agriculture, delivery, warehousing, and food service, including those who work in vehicles, from temperature extremes.

For the most recent five years, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 19 workers in New York died because of exposure to temperature extremes. Approximately 1,200 workers per year missed days at work because of illness or injury due to extreme temperature exposure at the workplace.

We know that workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths are preventable.

These two commonsense pieces of legislation are critical to protecting workers.

The NYS AFL-CIO is committed to advocating for stronger workplace safety laws and regulations, providing workers with the necessary training and equipment to stay safe on the job, and holding employers accountable when they fail to protect their workers.

Mario Cilento, President

Upcoming Meeting

Monday, May 1, 2023, 1:00 p.m.  
New York State Attorney General Letitia James will be the guest speaker.