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On May 21, ABC joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a coalition of business groups in filing a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Waco Division against the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Worker Walkaround Representative Designation Process final rule. Read the news release announcing the lawsuit.

Effective on May 31, the final rule will allow employees to choose a third-party representative, such as an outside union representative or community organizer, to accompany an OSHA safety inspector during site inspections, regardless of whether the workplace is unionized or not.

Now, construction employees and employers could face serious safety concerns because the final rule has the potential to allow anyone on a jobsite. There simply is no business case for this final rule and no benefit during a compliance inspection.

By allowing outside union agents access to nonunion employers’ private property, OSHA is injecting itself into labor-management disputes and casting doubt on its status as a neutral enforcer of the law. This final rule negatively impacts the rights of employers while simultaneously ignoring the rights of the majority of employees who have not authorized a union to represent them. OSHA’s rule also poses unnecessary risk to the individual joining the inspection and others on the jobsite if the authorized person is not trained to safely walk a construction jobsite. The rule does not include any requirement that the authorized person be equipped or conduct themselves to the same standards as OSHA safety inspectors. Further, the final rule fails to answer who is legally responsible if the third party gets injured during the inspection or harms someone else.

In addition to the lawsuit, on May 17, ABC, as a steering committee member of the Coalition for Workplace Safety, and 57 other employer organizations sent a letter to members of the U.S. House of Representatives urging them to pass Rep. Mary Miller’s, R-Ill., Congressional Review Act resolution to nullify the final rule.

The CWS letter states, “The resolution is vital to safeguarding the mission of workplace health and safety inspections. Without this legislation, OSHA CSHOs will be forced into an impossible position of policing labor disputes, for which they are simply unequipped. It would protect employers against individuals looking to further their own agendas and safeguard their property rights. It would also protect workers’ right to have their voice heard when determining workplace representation.”

Background on the final rule:

On March 29, OSHA announced its Worker Walkaround Representative Designation Process final rule and ABC issued a news release opposing the rule.

OSHA Resources on the final rule:

On Nov. 13, 2023, ABC submitted comments urging the DOL to withdraw its Worker Walkaround Representative Designation Process proposed rule. ABC also signed on to comments submitted by the Coalition for Workplace Safety and Construction Industry Safety Coalition.

Continue to monitor Newsline for further updates on the lawsuit.