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    HR2067 & S1580 (2009)

    The Protecting America's Workers Act (HR 2067) was introduced by Representative Lynn Woolsey and numerous cosponsors (the Open Congress website tracks this bill).  The bill's main provisions include:

    1)  Expanding OSHA coverage to public employees (state, county, municipal and federal employees) who are not currently covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act).

    2)  Raising penalties for employers who kill or endanger workers:  Penalties in the current law are so weak that they do not provide a disincentive for employers to break the law. This bill updates OSHA civil penalties (which have remained unchanged since 1990) and strengthens criminal penalties to include felony charges in situations where an employer's willful violation of the OSH Act results in a worker's death or serious injury.

    3)  Expanding coverage for millions of other employees who work for airlines and railroads, as well as for Department of Energy contractors, who are inadequately covered by current laws because their health and safety coverage is left to other government agencies that do not treat worker safety as a priority.

    4)  Improving protection for whistleblowers:  The current law provides insufficient protection for employees who make complaints about job safety hazards. This bill gives employees the right to refuse hazardous work that may kill or seriously injure them.  It also modernizes outdated whistleblower provisions by incorporating successful administrative procedures adopted in other laws, such as the Surface Transportation Act.  Click here for more information on the whistleblower provisions of PAWA

    5)  Improving the rights of workers and families:  The bill requires OSHA to investigate all cases of death as well as incidents involving serious injuries.  It gives victims and their families the right to meet with DOL investigators, and gives workers and their representatives greater rights in the enforcement system.

    6)  Prohibiting employers from discouraging the reporting of injuries and illnesses by requiring that regulations on injury and illness recordkeeping include prohibitions on employer policies or practices that discourage employees from reporting their work-related injuries or illnesses.

    7)  Compensating workers for time spent on inspections:  The bill clarifies that the time spent by a worker accompanying an inspector is considered "time worked," and therefore must be compensated.

    8)  Requiring employers to restrict hazardous violations during the time that such violations are being contested, reviewed and resolved.

    9)  Increasing civil penalties for employer violations to account for inflation and setting a mandatory minimum penalties for violations involving fatalities that are lower for small employers than for larger employers.


    Click here for a PDF of the Protecting America's Workers Act



    *  Send a letter to your representatives in Congress asking them to co-sponsor and help pass HR 2067.  Print and fill in this model letter.

    *  Get a fact sheet on HR 2067 describing the main points of the bill, from the Protecting Workers Alliance.

    *   For local labor federations, adopt a resolution urging Congress to pass HR 2067.

    *    Keep up with PAWAand occupational safety and health on the National COSH website (National Council of Occupational Safety & Health).


    *   Sen. Edward Kennedy introduces S 1580 in the Senate.

    *   Read more from the AFL-CIO about why we need to protect America's workers.

    *    Read the AFL-CIO safety and health legislative agenda

    *    Keep up with occupational safety and health on the OSH section of the AFL-CIO website

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    Co-Sponsors of HR 2067

    The co-sponsors of the bill, as of October 13, 2009 include the following Representatives.  If you don't
    see your representative on this list, please call and urge them to co-sponsor HR 2067.
    To see an updated list of the House co-sponsors, go to the Protecting Workers Alliance webpage.

    Primary Sponsor: Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA 6)
    Rep. Neil Abercrombie [D, HI-1]
    Rep. Gary Ackerman [D, NY-5]
    Rep. Robert Andrews [D, NJ-1]
    Rep. Shelley Berkley [D, NV-1]
    Rep. Timothy Bishop [D, NY-1]
    Rep. Robert Brady [D, PA-1]
    Rep. Corrine Brown [D, FL-3]
    Rep. Michael Capuano [D, MA-8]
    Rep. Yvette Clarke [D, NY-11]
    Rep. Steve Cohen [D, TN-9]
    Rep. Jerry Costello [D, IL-12]
    Rep. Joe Courtney [D, CT-2]
    Rep. Eliot Engel [D, NY-17]
    Rep. Chaka Fattah [D, PA-2]
    Rep. Bob Filner [D, CA-51]
    Rep. Barney Frank [D, MA-4]
    Rep. Al Green [D, TX-9]
    Rep. John Hall [D, NY-19]
    Rep. Phil Hare [D, IL-17]
    Rep. Maurice Hinchey [D, NY-22]
    Rep. Mazie Hirono [D, HI-2]
    Rep. Rush Holt [D, NJ-12]
    Rep. Steve Israel [D, NY-2]
    Rep. Dale Kildee [D, MI-5]
    Rep. Barbara Lee [D, CA-9]
    Rep. David Loebsack [D, IA-2]
    Rep. Carolyn Maloney [D, NY-14]
    Rep. Eric Massa [D, NY-29]
    Rep. Carolyn McCarthy [D, NY-4]
    Rep. James McGovern [D, MA-3]
    Rep. Gregory Meeks [D, NY-6]
    Rep. George Miller [D, CA-7]
    Rep. Patrick Murphy [D, PA-8]
    Rep. Jerrold Nadler [D, NY-8]
    Rep. Donald Payne [D, NJ-10]
    Rep. Pedro Pierluisi [D, PR-0]
    Rep. Steven Rothman [D, NJ-9]
    Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard [D, CA-34]
    Rep. Gregorio Sablan [I, MP-0]
    Rep. Janice Schakowsky [D, IL-9]
    Rep. Allyson Schwartz [D, PA-13]
    Rep. José Serrano [D, NY-16]
    Rep. Joe Sestak [D, PA-7]
    Rep. Carol Shea-Porter [D, NH-1]
    Rep. Louise Slaughter [D, NY-28]
    Rep. Paul Tonko [D, NY-21]
    Rep. John Yarmuth [D, KY-3]


    In the Senate (S 1580)

    The corresponding bill in the Senate (S 1580) is sponsored by the following Senators.
    Again, if you don't see one of your Senators on this list, please call them and urge them to co-sponsor S 1580.
    To see an updated list of the Senate co-sponsors, go to the Protecting Workers Alliance webpage.

    Sponsor: Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-MA
    Sen. Daniel Akaka [D, HI]
    Sen. Jeff Bingaman [D, NM]
    Sen. Barbara Boxer [D, CA]
    Sen. Sherrod Brown [D, OH]
    Sen. Robert Casey [D, PA]
    Sen. Christopher Dodd [D, CT]
    Sen. Richard Durbin [D, IL]
    Sen. Russell Feingold [D, WI]
    Sen. Al Franken [D, MN]
    Sen. Thomas Harkin [D, IA]
    Sen. Frank Lautenberg [D, NJ]
    Sen. Patrick Leahy [D, VT]
    Sen. Robert Menéndez [D, NJ]
    Sen. Jeff Merkley [D, OR]
    Sen. Patty Murray [D, WA]
    Sen. John Rockefeller [D, WV]
    Sen. Bernard Sanders [I, VT]
    Sen. Charles Schumer [D, NY]
    Sen. Debbie Ann Stabenow [D, MI]
    Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse [D, RI]