Thursday, February 19, 2004

Know Bush Fact #8

Based on the belief that the truth shall set you free:

In the Spring of 2000, the battle for ergonomic regulations, to protect workers from the damaging effects of heavy, repetitive production line work, had its final 47 days of hearings before the Department of Labor. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provided the frightening results of years of investigation: 1.8 million American workers disabled by injuries caused by physical stress on the job each year.

Vehemently arguing against the regulations was Eugene Scalia, "the Godfather of the anti-ergonomics movement." For seven years, he'd lead a high-profile attack against ergonomics, claiming it was founded on "junk science" created by doctors, reporters and hysterical workers.

Even with the approval of the Department of Labor, bureaucracy takes time, and it took a last minute order from President Clinton to list the rules in the Federal Register so the Ergonomics Program Standard would become a part of the OSHA Code of Federal Regulations.

Then came Bush.

Determined to get rid of this expensive problem for the business community, Bush pushed for a Congressional Review which could overturn an executive order that had been on the books less than 60 days. So, with the backing of the new White House administration, on April 23, 2001, the rules that had been 12 years in the making were wiped out.

Seven months later, Bush appointed Eugene Scalia to the position of Solicitor of the Department of Labor, in charge of enforcing federal workplace laws. Congress refused to confirm the appointment, so Bush "recessed" Scalia in, installing him in office while Congress was adjourned, twice.

It should be noted that Eugene Scalia is the son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the five Supreme Court Justices who put Bush in office. Eugene Scalia had been a partner in the law firm that represented George Bush in that argument before the Supreme Court.

To verify this information, Google "Eugene Scalia +ergonomics +Department of Labor".

- February 19, 2004

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