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The nation's largest union group said Monday it is suing the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) for not issuing an emergency temporary standard protecting U.S. workers against the coronavirus.
"It's truly a sad day in America when working people must sue the organization tasked with protecting our health and safety," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement. "But we've been left no choice. Millions are infected and nearly 90,000 have died, so it's beyond urgent that action is taken to protect workers who risk our lives daily to respond to this public health emergency. If the Trump administration refuses to act, we must compel them to."
AFL-CIO and other unions first asked OSHA for an emergency temporary standard in March.
"The Department is committed to protecting American workers during the pandemic, and OSHA has been working around the clock to that end," a Department of Labor spokesperson told FOX Business. "The Department is confident it will prevail in this counterproductive lawsuit."
OSHA is an agency of the Department of Labor.
In order to create an emergency temporary standard, OSHA "must determine that workers are in grave danger due to exposure to toxic substances or agents determined to be toxic or physically harmful or to new hazards and that an emergency standard is needed to protect them," its website says.
"A disease standard would require them to have a plan, train employees and provide protective equipment," Trumka told "Mornings with Maria" in April. "It will vary with each one of the industries and, quite frankly, could vary by employer."
AFL-CIO numbers more than 12.5 million members in 55 unions, including National Nurses United, the largest registered nurses union.