OSHA is 'AWOL' on setting coronavirus standards to protect workers: AFL-CIO president

AFL-CIO president Trumka says workers need these assurances

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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is "AWOL" on setting new standards for the post-coronavirus workplace, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said on Wednesday.

Trumka wants the U.S. to adopt an emergency temporary contagious disease standard so "every employer will know what's out there what they have to do and every worker will know what they're entitled to," he said.

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"Unfortunately, in all of this you would think that OSHA would be there to help us, but OSHA has been AWOL," Trumka told FOX Business' Neil Cavuto.

OSHA has issued guidance in recent weeks and says it will use "existing enforcement tools" to keep workplaces safe.

Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO speaks to members of the news media as he departs after a meeting with U.S.President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York, January 13, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Workers should want assurances of personal protective equipment and a "massive increase" in virus testing before businesses reopen en masse, Trumka said.

He also criticized protests calling for immediate business reopenings.

"I think anytime that a lot of people gather in public right now without masks that they're endangering themselves and they're endangering anybody that they come in contact with," Trumka said. "They're asking for the economy to be reopened before we have safe workplaces. Essentially, they're demanding that working people's lives be put at risk.

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