Cellphones and other technological devices have entered every aspect of our society and everyday life, and as new technology emerges, past versions of these devices need to be properly disposed of. I founded RecycleForce in 2003 to give people a way to safely dispose of their electronic waste and, with the proceeds, to hire formerly incarcerated individuals and supply them with job training and placement to get their lives back on track.
We believe a good job is much more important than just a paycheck. A job is about providing for you and your family and contributing to your community.
All of our workers deserve a second chance, and I firmly believe they deserve to do their job in a safe environment. That’s why I’m so concerned Congress is moving legislation that could set back worker protections, putting both workers and American competitiveness at risk. The Regulatory Accountability Act would weaken vital protections we rely on in every aspect of our lives while dramatically increasing uncertainty in the business environment.
Under the guise of regulatory reform, the RAA would add a litany of bureaucratic hurdles and red tape, making it even harder to navigate the already complex regulatory system.
These changes imposed by the RAA would undermine a wide range of laws including the Occupational Safety and Health Act, Fair Labor Standards Act and many others that ensure safe workplaces, safe drinking water, quality air to breathe and food to eat.
For example, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled the OSH Act prohibits health standards being based on a strict cost-benefit determination because protection of health is the primary consideration. The RAA would override this requirement and mandate agencies adopt the least costly standard, even when those standards could put workers at risk.
In 2015, the most recent data, nearly 5,000 Americans were killed on the job. An additional 50,000 to 60,000 die every year from occupational injuries. I know firsthand how important it is to ensure safety in the workplace. Our workers deal with heavy machinery that can maim or kill if handled unsafely and toxic chemicals that can be deadly if not adequately handled and disposed of properly.
It is vital workplace safety protections are kept in place to prevent needless deaths and injuries. The RAA would undermine the protections workers rely on and make it even harder to implement new protections. This bill is not just some policy debate in Washington; this is a life or death issue for tens of millions of workers across America.
In addition to jeopardizing worker safety, if the RAA passes, it would accelerate the race to the bottom all across America by making cost, not the welfare of people, the primary consideration in setting standards.
I’m proud of employing hundreds of people every year in Indianapolis, but not all companies are as focused on keeping jobs here at home. Nationwide, we have watched as corporations outsource jobs to low-cost locations with dangerous working conditions.
We don’t want toxic chemicals or other health threats in our workplaces, and we certainly don’t want them in our homes. Instead, we must focus on what we do best, creating high-quality products and ensuring safe, good-paying jobs. The Regulatory Accountability Act is a bad deal, not just for workers, but all Americans.