Smith, Michael

Michael Smith is an attorney for Worksafe, an Oakland-based nonprofit that advocates for better safety and health for California workers

Republicans Must Let Voters Have A Voice

By Steve Smith
California Labor Federation

As soon as Jerry Brown’s State of the State was finished, like clockwork, the Republican responses deploring Brown’s call for voters to have a voice on whether we extend existing taxes or cripple public education and other vital services started pouring in. The temerity of this governor, suggesting voters should have a say in how we solve the state budget crisis! they said. Voters told us in past elections what they wanted so we don’t have to ask again, they reasoned. It’s all the unions’ fault! they cried.

Cal/OSHA Inspectors’ Protests Lead to Promises of Appeals Board Reform

Michael_Smith.jpgBy Michael Smith

The Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board (Board) convened an advisory committee meeting in Oakland Thursday in the face of numerous complaints that it is undermining worker health and safety in California.

Frustrated by the Board’s inaction after months of airing their complaints, 47 Cal/OSHA inspectors signed a June letter protesting arbitrary and unreasonable decisions and practices of the Board that have resulted in cases being unfairly dismissed, witnesses disappearing because of unnecessary continuances of cases, and the waste of Cal/OSHA time and money.

The Board’s recent practices include scheduling multiple hearings before the same judge and with the same Cal/OSHA prosecutor at the same time. As the 47 inspectors explain about the overscheduling in their letter of June 13: