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"The federal government, I do not respect it. They hurt workers." - William H. Marsh, president of American Bar Products Inc.
With the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.
Mr. Marsh is the owner of American Bar Products Inc. He claims that the federal government harms workers. He denied OSHA access to his plant to measure noise levels because they did not have a warrant. Why does Mr. Marsh have a bug about OSHA? Well, in 2011 his company was fined $8400 for 10 serious violations. So much so that he had State Rep. Marguerite C. Quinn at the warehouse to tour the premises and listen to his OSHA complaints.

"This sounds to me like an agency gone rogue," Quinn said.

OSHA is not an agency "gone rogue." In the early days of the railroads brakemen rarely left the job alive, and if they did, they were missing digits and/or limbs. As industry marched on assembly lines moved faster and faster. Children were put into the workforce. Worker's lives were not worth a dime to industry leaders. Unions fought for the rights of the American worker and people died for many of the workplace rights we have today. When you go to work you expect to come home alive and whole.

American Bar Products' employees said they have suffered flesh cuts on the job on occasion but said that they know how to work and that OSHA's regulations are a "hindrance" to productivity.
OSHA regulations are not a hindrance to productivity. They are there to keep workers safe and alive. The reason many of these regulations exist is because someone at some point in time did something that caused an accident. That accident was studied and the findings showed what caused the accident. The regulations in place are the end result.
Marsh said American Bar Products earns $10 million in annual revenue through selling steel to distributors across North America. He said federal taxes and regulatory action from OSHA and other agencies threaten to stunt the resurgence of American manufacturing.

"We can't just continue to ignore the problem," he said.

The problem is not federal taxes and regulatory action from OSHA. Don't want to have to pay fines to OSHA then follow the regulations. Problem solved. Don't like paying taxes, fine don't pay them; however, you will not ship one ounce of your product on any piece of infrastructure that taxes paid for. Corporate taxes are the lowest they have ever been in in this country. To say that regulations and taxes are killing American manufacturing is nothing but an outright lie. Mr. Marsh's grandstanding serves only one purpose - to score political points for the anti-government crowd. This is not about the safety of his workers or regulation run amuck.

Mr. Marsh is not an exception. He is the rule in today's world. Union membership has been declining for years. Cries of "Unions are no longer needed," come from the right and left. I beg to differ. Once the unions are gone the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board), OSHA Occupational Safety and Health Administration), and the Department of Labor will not be far behind - a centuries worth of progress for the working class will be gone. The problems this country faces are not high taxes and over regulation. It is low wages and a lack of respect for those of us who work for a living.


Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 04:00 PM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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