Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Nursing Unions, AFL-CIO Take OSHA to Court on COVID-19 Protections for Health Care Workers

OSHA Petition Action

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

A group of America’s largest nursing unions, together with the AFL-CIO, filed a lawsuit today against the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to compel the agency to issue a permanent standard that requires employers to protect health care workers from COVID-19 and to keep the emergency temporary standard (ETS) in place until a permanent standard is issued. OSHA announced last week that all of the nonrecord-keeping provisions of the health care ETS would be expiring, despite the massive surge of infections sweeping the nation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 803,454 health care workers had contracted COVID-19 and 3,063 had died from the disease as of Dec. 30, 2021. The petitioners include National Nurses United (NNU); the AFL-CIO; the American Federation of Teachers (AFT); AFSCME; as well as some of the nation’s other major nursing unions, including the New York State Nurses Association and the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals.