Coalition to OSHA: Don’t allow union reps at inspections of non-union workplaces

Washington – A coalition of industry groups has called for OSHA to withdraw a recent letter of interpretation stating that workers at a non-union workplace may designate someone affiliated with a union as their representative during OSHA “walkaround” inspections.

In a June 12 letter to OSHA administrator David Michaels, the Coalition for Workplace Safety outlined several issues with OSHA’s Feb. 21 letter of interpretation to the United Steelworkers.

The coalition, which is affiliated with the National Association of Manufacturers, argued that allowing union representatives to accompany inspectors would “undermine the safety focus of these inspections” and allow unions to gain access to the workplace to build a campaign against the employer or steal proprietary information.

Additionally, the letter states that the decision puts OSHA in the position of appearing to take sides in labor disputes.

Calling the decision a “significant change in policy,” the coalition said the proper course of action would be for OSHA to pursue a rulemaking after withdrawing the interpretation.