Watchdog: Businesses Should Consider Whether Trump’s Anti-Worker Actions Align with Their Corporate Values

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, news broke that former Trump Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia rejoined his previous law firm, Gibson Dunn, as partner. During the Trump administration, Scalia failed to take the threat of COVID-19 seriously enough to mandate substantive coronavirus safety rules for employers — and instead put workers’ lives on the line. On Scalia’s watch, OSHA inspections and citations fell dramatically, even as thousands of workers lodged complaints with the agency about unsafe or concerning working conditions during the COVID-19 crisis. 

“On Eugene Scalia’s watch, the urgent concerns of workers fending for their health and safety amid a deadly public health crisis were ignored. Now that Trump is out of office, Scalia is seeking refuge from his sullied reputation in a cushy job at his former law firm,” said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US. “Before paying for the services of Gibson Dunn, which appears unmoved by the avoidable deaths of workers, businesses should seriously consider whether Scalia and his firm are reflective of their corporate values.”

Gibson Dunn’s expansive clientele spans many industries and includes names like Uber, Facebook, Walgreens, Chevron, and more. 

BACKGROUND:

UNDER SCALIA, OSHA INVESTIGATIONS PLUMMETED… 

  • Nationally, in the first months of 2020, the OSHA inspection rate fell dramatically from 217 a day to 60 a day since coronavirus was declared a national emergency.
     
  • OSHA citations fell by almost 70-percent in the first months after coronavirus was declared a national emergency — compared to the same timeframes in 2019 and 2018 — despite thousands of worker complaints about unsafe workplaces amidst the pandemic. 

… AS WORKER SAFETY CONCERNS SKYROCKETED 

  • In the first months of the pandemic, workers filed “thousands of complaints regarding their exposure to the novel coronavirus and a lack of safeguards at their places of employment.
     
  • Many workers’ complaints detailed “shortages of masks and gloves, of being forced to work with people who appear sick, and of operating in cramped work areas that prevent them from standing six feet from one another.”
     
  • One worker filed a complaint with OSHA describing hazards at his workplace where an employee tested positive for COVID-19, but many workers were not informed of the illness or instructed to self-quarantine. 

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