Henshaw in the Senate Hot Seat

Members of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Employment, Safety and Training Subcommittee are holding a hearing today to determine if OSHA is failing to adequately protect the safety and health of immigrant and low-wage workers.

Members of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Employment, Safety and Training Subcommittee will question the head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the president of the United Farm Workers (UFW) and others at 2 p.m. today about whether OSHA is failing to adequately protect the safety and health of immigrant and low-wage workers.

OSHA Administrator John Henshaw and UFW President Arturo Rodriguez appearance before the committee comes just less than one week after Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao unveiled her plan to improve conditions for immigrant and low-wage workers.

When Chao announced the plan on Feb. 21, she said, "The Labor Department is committed to protecting the well being of the over 14.5 million Hispanic workers in our country. Further, we want to help Hispanic workers climb the ladder of success and be an integral part of the American workforce."

The Senate hearing was scheduled long before Chao unveiled her plan, and some critics claim that Chao''s announcement was timed to blunt criticism of her department''s seeming lack of response to the safety issues of low wage and immigrant workers.

Omar Henriquez, who is the coordinator of the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health''s Immigrant and Youth Program, will be one of the witnesses. Other witnesses include: Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-Ill.); Rosemary Sokas, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; You Di Liao, a garment industry worker; Tom Maier, reporter, Newsday; and Bobby Jackson, National Safety Council.

by Sandy Smith ([email protected])

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