The Health of All Iowans is at risk because Iowa OSHA refuses to do its job

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NOVEMBER 13, 2020   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

THE HEALTH OF ALL IOWANS IS AT RISK BECAUSE
IOWA OSHA REFUSES TO DO ITS JOB

LULAC Iowa joins state labor and civil rights organizations to collectively file a federal complaint against Iowa OSHA citing gross negligence in protecting Iowa workers.

DES MOINES, Iowa – The COVID-19 pandemic continues to escalate and impact Iowans. Leaders from the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Iowa say the state’s OSHA department is a part of the problem.

Today LULAC Iowa joined a coalition of eight labor and civil rights organizations to file a CASPA (Complaint About State Program Administration) to urge federal OSHA to investigate the negligence of Iowa OSHA. The complaint charges that numerous Iowa workplaces are not appropriately protecting workers from COVID-19, and Iowa OSHA is not investigating complaints properly. In a press conference today, labor and civil rights leaders said Iowa OSHA has a long history of not adequately investigating serious and life-threatening work conditions.

LULAC Iowa says Iowa OSHA’s failure to protect the workforce has led to high levels of Coronavirus transmission in communities across the state.

“When Iowa OSHA doesn’t do its job it impacts all Iowans,” said Joe Enriquez Henry, Political Director for LULAC Iowa. “This is a terrible situation. The federal government needs to do more, Iowa OSHA needs to do better… Instead of being treated as essential (these workers) are being treated as expendable.”

Statistics show the hardest-hit by COVID-19 in the workplace have been immigrants, Black, and Latinx Iowans. They fill front-line and essential worker roles that have been hard-hit by the pandemic. Nationally, 44 percent of meatpacking workers are Latinx and 25 percent are Black.

LULAC Iowa joined the ACLU of Iowa, American Friends Service Committee Iowa, Forward Latino, the Iowa AFL-CIO, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (ICCI), Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors (Iowa JFON), the Iowa State Building and Construction Trades Council, and the Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa Foundation for Fair Contracting (IIIFFC) in filing this CASPA.

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