OSHA Withdraws COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing ETS
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently withdrew their Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on COVID-19 vaccination and testing for large employers as an enforceable emergency temporary standard. However, OSHA is not withdrawing the ETS to the extent that it will still serve as a proposed agency rulemaking.
This action by OSHA will essentially preserve the status of the ETS as a notice-and-comment rulemaking while technically removing the ETS designation. It is unclear whether this move by OSHA is legally permissible under federal statute but further clarity from OSHA will be needed in the coming weeks. It is important to note that OSHA is still prohibited from enforcing any provisions of the ETS at this current time.
This announcement by OSHA comes after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay against the ETS on Jan. 13. The court’s ruling blocked OSHA from enforcing the provisions of the ETS while the case is reconsidered by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. At this time, it is uncertain whether the Sixth Circuit will now throw out the case following OSHA’s withdrawal of the ETS.
BSCAI will keep members updated on the latest developments from OSHA and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on the ETS as more information becomes available.
House Passes America COMPETES Act
The House of Representatives recently passed the American Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology and Economic Strength (COMPETES) Act of 2022 which seeks to bolster American competitiveness with China through new investments in research, innovation and manufacturing. The bill includes $52 billion to support U.S. production of semiconductor chips, $45 billion to improve supply chains for critical items and $160 billion for scientific research and innovation.
The America COMPETES Act is the House Democratic counter-proposal to the bipartisan U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) which passed the Senate last summer. Both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Chick Schumer (D-NY) have announced their intention to form a conference committee to reconcile differences between the two bills.
White House Releases Task Force Report on Unionization
The White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment recently released its report which details nearly 70 recommendations – approved by President Biden – that promote worker organizing and collective bargaining for public and private sector employees.
Comprised of more than 20 participant agencies, offices and White House components, the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment is tasked with identifying executive branch policies, practices and programs that could be used – consistent with applicable law – to promote the Biden administration’s policy of support for worker organizing and collective bargaining.
The U.S. Department of Labor will work across agencies to implement the task force’s recommendations, including the following:
- Ensuring workers know their organizing and bargaining rights.
- Protecting workers who face illegal retaliation when they organize and stand up for workplace rights.
- Establishing a resource center on unions and collective bargaining.
- Collecting and reporting more information on unions and their role in the U.S. economy.
- Advancing equity across underserved communities by supporting worker organizing and collective bargaining.
It is important to note that this report simply provides recommendations and does change any existing laws or regulations. BSCAI will continue to track actions by the Biden administration on labor issues and keep members updated on the latest developments.