Federal agencies Regulation Unions

AFL-CIO decries ‘war on regulatory protections’


Silver Spring, MD – The AFL-CIO’s Executive Council has denounced efforts to roll back federal laws and regulations that “have protected working people on the job” for more than 50 years.

In a statement released July 27, the organization highlighted OSHA rules on beryllium, silica and injury/illness reporting that have been delayed or struck down during the Trump administration. The statement also makes reference to a Mine Safety and Health Administration rule on mine examination that has been delayed until Oct. 2.

“The Trump administration, along with the Republican leadership in Congress and their allies, have launched a war on regulation,” the statement reads. “These efforts have been advanced with bogus claims that regulations cost jobs and impede economic growth. There is no less than a concerted effort to roll back regulations and leave the public unprotected.”

AFL-CIO also objects to pending legislation – specifically the Regulatory Accountability Act. That bill, passed by the House on Jan. 11, aims to revise federal rulemaking procedures by requiring agencies to look at costs and impact of any new regulations, among other considerations.

“It would make cost, not protection of workers or the public, the primary consideration, overriding existing laws, including the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the Mine Safety and Health Act, and transportation safety laws,” the AFL-CIO statement reads. “This bill would add dozens of new analytical and procedural requirements to the rulemaking process, adding years to the already lengthy process, and provide new opportunities for special interests and their lobbyists to block or weaken rules they oppose.”

In the first regulatory agenda released under President Donald Trump, OSHA cut 16 regulations or reclassified them as “long-term” or “inactive,” compared with 30 listed on the fall 2016 agenda. Overall, 469 regulations were cut and 391 were considered long-term/inactive to allow for further review.

“This agenda represents the beginning of fundamental regulatory reform and a reorientation toward reducing unnecessary regulatory burden on the American people,” the agenda’s preamble states.

President Trump signed an Executive Order on Jan. 30 that requires federal agencies to cut two existing regulations for every regulation proposed. The White House later clarified in a guidance memo that the Executive Order would apply only to regulations with estimated costs of $100 million or more.

In addition, President Trump on Feb. 24 signed an Executive Order that required each federal agency to review its existing regulations, and potentially repeal, replace or modify them.

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