4/28 SF 2016 Workers Memorial Day Remember The Dead And Fight For The Living Defend Our Health & Safety Rights And Our Lives And Families

4/28 SF 2016 Workers Memorial Day Remember The Dead And Fight For The Living Defend Our Health & Safety Rights And Our Lives And Families

2016 San Francisco Workers Memorial Day
Remember The Dead And Fight For The Living
Defend Our Health & Safety Rights And Our Lives And Families
Thursday April 28, 2016 7:00PM
ILWU Local 34 (next to AT&T Ballpark
801 2nd St. San Francisco, California
Parking available in union parking lot

April 28 is Workers Memorial Day and is commemorated throughout the world for workers who have died or been injured on the job and to fight for health and safety on the job for workers and the public.
In California workers die nearly every day because of the lack of health and safety protection and many are sickened by toxins and workplace bullying on the job which is reaching epidemic rates.
There also have been incidents of “hanging nooses” put up on worksites at SF Recology and the Bay Bridge to terrorize and intimidate African American and other workers.
At the same time there are only 200 Cal OSHA health and safety inspectors for 18.5 million workers in the State and only 2,000 for the federal government. We need to demand that there be proper enforcement for health and safety violations including jail for deaths caused by violating health and safety laws.
Additionally as a result of deregulation of workers compensation in California under SB 899 and SB 863 seriously injured workers have to go through hoops and a system called independent medical review to get medical treatment and the insurance controlled Workers Comp system stalls treatment and instead doctors in many cases are forced to prescribe opiate drugs that end up addicting injured workers and destroying their lives.
Under Federal and California law, workers union and unorganized are supposed to be protected when they complain to OSHA about health and safety violations. The reality is that companies and bosses regularly bully, harass and fire workers who fight for their health and safety for themselves and the public.
Federal OSHA lawyer Darrell Whitman who was investigating retaliation complaints at PG&E, Fed Ex, Test America, Lockheed Martin and other companies found that there was illegal retaliation and then OSHA management with the backing of DOL Secretary Of Labor Tom Perez. OSHA managers bullied and harassed AFGE investigators and lawyers in the Whistleblower Protection Program and illegally fired Whitman for trying to defend OSHA whistleblowers. We will discuss what workers can do to protect their rights and get justice and accountability.
It is time to remember the dead and fight for the living. We have a right to work in a healthy and safe workplace for ourselves and our families.
Initial Speakers:
Brenda Barros, SEIU 1021 SF General Hospital Chapter Chair
Dr. Larry Rose, Past Medical Director of Cal-OSHA
Daryle Washington, IBT 350 Worker At SF Recology who was bullied and fired for reporting "hanging noose incident"
Daniel Berman, Health and Safety Advocate and author of “Death on the Job”
Dorian Maxwell, Fired MTA TWU 250A bus driver and OSHA whistleblower
Roland Sheppard, Retired Painters Local 4 BA
Darrell Whitman, Fired Federal OSHA Whistleblower Protection Program Investigator by Skype
Carol Vertongen, SJSU Education Worker who was bullied and is a whistleblower

Endorsed by
San Francisco Labor Council SFLC, SMART UTU 1741, IWNN, UPWA
For more information Injured Workers National Network

San Francisco Labor Council Resolution on Workers Memorial Day 2016 – April 28, 2016

Whereas, April 28 is commemorated worldwide as Workers Memorial Day; and Whereas, health and safety on the job is a basic labor and human right; and

Whereas, injured workers deserve good medical care and compensation for their injuries on the job; and

Whereas, California has less than 200 Cal OSHA inspectors for 18.5 million workers; and

Whereas, the deregulation of Workers Compensation in California through SB 899 and SB 863 has led to the injured workers being denied healthcare benefits due to anonymous doctors and an obstacle course call independent review decisions by an outsourced company called Maximus; and

Whereas, the insurance industry has controls the Workers Compensation system; and

Whereas, there is more and more use of opiates and growing addiction due to injured workers not getting medical treatment; and

Whereas, there has been a major increase in workplace bullying on the job leading to health and safety problems and forcing workers on disability and workers compensation; and

Whereas, Federal OSHA only has 2,000 OSHA inspectors for 130 million workers and only 500 investigators of those workers who have been retaliated for making OSHA complaints; and

Whereas, Federal OSHA management have not enforced the protection of OSHA whistleblowers and have bullied AFGE OSHA Whistleblower Protection Program WPP AFGE Local 2371members in Region 9; and

Whereas, Federal OSHA management and the Department of Labor management have only allowed a small percentage of whistleblowers to be protected with a merit determination; and

Whereas, Federal OSHA inspectors including SFLC delegate and fired Federal OSHA investigator Darrell Whitman who is also a member and steward of AFGE Local 2371 have been bullied, harassed and fired from the agency for doing their jobs; and

Whereas, if workers both union and unorganized are not protected from making health and safety complaints and there is not proper enforcement of Federal OSHA protection laws this is a threat to all workers and the public; and

Whereas, the protection of worker health and safety in transportation, energy, healthcare, construction, education, agriculture, biotech and many other industries is critical for these workers and the public; and

Whereas, the Workers Memorial Day on April 28, 2016 commemorates the workers who have died on the job and those workers who have been injured; and

Therefore be it Resolved the San Francisco Labor Council calls for proper staffing of OSHA in the Cal- OSHA program and Federal Osha program, the rehiring of fired Federal OSHA lawyer Darrell Whitman and an end to the harassment and bullying of AFGE OSHA Whistleblower Protection Program worker, support for a independent investigator to investigate the retaliation against Federal OSHA staff who have been bullied, retaliated and fired for doing their job; and

Be it Further Resolved the San Francisco Labor Council calls for the elimination of the Independent Medical Review system with anonymous doctors not even licensed in California that is being used to prevent injured workers from getting treatment and for the elimination of the insurance industry control of our workers compensation system and for full rehabilitation training for injured workers and laws preventing workplace bullying; and

Be it Further Resolved the San Francisco Labor Council will support and publicize the April 28, 2016 Workers Memorial Day at ILWU Local 34 at 7:00 PM in San Francisco sponsored by the Injured Workers National Network; and

Be it Finally Resolved the San Francisco Labor Council calls for concurrence by all affiliated bodies including the California Federation of Labor.

Submitted by Brenda Barros, SEIU 1021, and James Charos, SMART 1741, and unanimously adopted by the San Francisco Labor Council on April 11, 2016.


Tim Paulson Executive Director


1188 Franklin Street, Suite 203

San Francisco, CA 94109

Fax: 415.440.9297

Phone: 415.440.4809


Federal Agency OSHA That Protects Whistleblowers Accused of Retaliating Against One of its Own
By Stuart Silverstein on April 11, 2016

Darrell Whitman, former whistleblower investigator for the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration
For nearly five years, Darrell Whitman was a federal investigator who probed whistleblowers’ complaints about being fired or otherwise punished for exposing alleged corporate misconduct.

He wanted to help whistleblowers, viewing them as a crucial line of defense against employers who violated health and safety standards or wasted taxpayer dollars.

But now Whitman, 70, is blowing the whistle himself. And he is accusing the agency where he used to work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the branch of the Labor Department whose duties include protecting whistleblowers.

Whitman, in a whistleblower claim filed last week with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, charges that the San Francisco regional office of OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program routinely dumped legitimate complaints. What’s more, Whitman’s complaint says his disclosures to senior OSHA and Labor Department officials -– all the way up to Labor Secretary Thomas Perez — “did not spark good faith corrective action. Rather, they led to investigations of Mr. Whitman that eventually formed the basis for his termination” last May. He claims that three other investigators who protested the office’s practices also were fired or pushed out.

The result, Whitman claims, is that safety hazards and wasteful spending persist while whistleblowers often are silenced by employers that get away with illegal retaliation.

Whitman’s complaint largely tracks the concerns he raised in letters to federal officials (examples here and here) and in interviews with FairWarning and previously with KNTV (NBC in the Bay Area). He zeroes in on his former boss, Joshua Paul, and other officials in OSHA’s San Francisco regional office, which oversees California, Arizona, Nevada and Hawaii.

Sometimes, Whitman said, Paul ordered investigators to water down their findings or reversed the findings without explanation. In other instances, Whitman said, cases would be closed out after quickie investigations that barely examined the retaliation claims. Other times, he said, Paul dragged his feet in completing investigations for three years or more, apparently to put pressure on whistleblowers to settle.

‘The companies would scream bloody murder’

Whitman told FairWarning that those problems in San Francisco reflect a broader breakdown across the 10 regional OSHA offices that administer the whistleblower program. He maintains that the program often is too cozy with business to take on rogue employers. “There’s open hostility within OSHA to this program,” Whitman said.

If the program did its job, “the companies would scream bloody murder,” added Whitman, an attorney with a PhD in politics who has taught college, served as a campaign consultant and worked as a lawyer in government and private practice.

Whitman’s complaint calls for his reinstatement, back pay and damages, while also seeking an investigation of Paul “and any other relevant DOL [Department of Labor] officials.”

OSHA disputed Whitman’s allegations. In a written response, Jordan Barab, a Labor Department deputy assistant secretary, said: “To suggest that OSHA is not committed to protecting workers or that it is arbitrarily dismissing cases is not only absurd, it’s a huge disservice to the investigators who work hard to protect the rights of whistleblowers across the country. The Whistleblower Protection Program is a small staff with an enormous task, and that staff is committed, at every level of the organization, to protecting the rights of workers and to upholding the law.”

As for Paul, in November he moved from his job as senior investigator overseeing whistleblower investigations in San Francisco to a new role as coordinator of the region’s alternative dispute resolution program, which works on whistleblower cases. OSHA said the job change was unrelated to Whitman’s allegations. OSHA turned down a request for an interview with Paul, saying it “would not be appropriate” for him to respond to Whitman’s allegations.

OSHA is responsible for enforcing whistleblower provisions under 22 federal laws that cover everything from nuclear power plants and public transit to the trucking, railroad and airline industries.
But as Congress has assigned OSHA one category of workers after another, some critics say its staff has been swamped by the added workload, creating incentives to dismiss cases to keep up.

Jordan Barab, deputy assistant secretary of Labor.
Whitman’s complaint cites six cases that he says were mishandled. One involved a nuclear plant official who said he lost his job after discussing security problems with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Another case involved Michael Madry. He was a Phoenix-based quality assurance specialist for EMLab P&K, which describes itself as North America’s “leading commercial indoor air quality testing laboratory.”

According to court records, Madry, 51, was promoted to quality assurance manager at EMLab in May 2008. Over the next year, Madry received reports from outside auditors questioning the accuracy of the firm’s asbestos testing as well as complaints from lab analysts about being pressured to rush through asbestos tests.

Madry investigated, focusing on the company’s San Bruno, Calif., lab, which tested for asbestos at schools and for the U.S. Navy and other customers. He became increasingly concerned about the accuracy of tests, and repeatedly raised the issue with company officials.

Soon he began getting poor performance reviews and, according to court records, the company president complained in an internal memo of his “emotional outbursts and obvious instability.”

On Sept. 30, 2010, soon after being put on medical leave by a psychiatrist, Madry filed his whistleblower complaint.

Whitman investigated and in July 2011 found that the complaint had merit. But then the case languished.

As Whitman recounts in his own complaint, Paul delayed action for almost a year by requiring four rewrites of his merit findings, and also pushed for Madry to accept “a nuisance settlement.” According to Whitman, after he complained to OSHA chief David Michaels, Paul removed Whitman from the case. Whitman told FairWarning that he eventually saved the case by going over his boss’ head and getting the whistleblower program’s national director to step in.

‘The system, it doesn’t work’

Three years of legal skirmishes followed for Madry. As a Nov. 16 trial before an administrative law judge was about to begin, Madry reached a settlement totaling $122,500 with EMLab. The company declined to comment after the settlement but, in an earlier interview, an EMLab spokesperson gave a blanket denial of Madry’s claims, without discussing specifics.

The struggle, in Madry’s view, wasn’t worth it. “I wouldn’t recommend anybody do what I did, just because the system, it doesn’t work,” he said.

“Here I am, more than five years later,” he added, “and I’m no better off than when I filed my complaint.”

Michael Madry, a whistleblower who raised questions about the accuracy of his company’s asbestos testing.
Nilgun Tolek, who headed OSHA’s whistleblower program until 2011, said she wasn’t familiar with the evidence behind Whitman’s allegations. However, she cautioned against assuming that when an administrator overturns an investigator’s finding there is “ill intent.”

“It’s always the case that what the investigator recommends in a report is subject to further review and may not end up holding water in the end. It’s not an individual person’s report. It’s the agency’s report, and it has to go through all kinds of review,” Tolek said.

Although Whitman’s case is novel for OSHA, it’s not the only time whistleblower defenders have been accused of mistreating their own employees. Two lawyers formerly with the National Whistleblowers Center, a nonprofit legal group in Washington, in late 2014 received an undisclosed sum to settle their complaints (here and here) that the organization fired them and also retaliated against other employees who tried to unionize. The settlement came shortly before a National Labor Relations Board administrative law judge was set to hear the case. The National Whistleblowers Center did not admit any wrongdoing.

Flawed investigations by OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program and growing case backlogs were cited last fall in a report by the Labor Department’s inspector general.

In an audit tracking October 2012 through March 2014, the inspector general found problems in 24 of 132 randomly selected complaints. Among other deficiencies, investigators failed to contact complainants’ witnesses and to give complainants the time needed to provide evidence.

OSHA also failed to meet deadlines on 3,206 of the 4,475 complaints it received that warranted investigations. The investigations took an average of 238 days to complete, up from 150 days in 2010, when previous federal audits lambasted the agency for poor performance.

OSHA management, in response, acknowledged that improvements were needed. But the agency also noted that the number of new complaints climbed to 3,060 in the 2014 fiscal year, up 58 percent from 2005.

“Consequently, OSHA still lacks the resources that it needs to process and investigate whistleblower complaints with the expedience that we would like, while also maintaining the quality and thoroughness that is appropriate,” the agency said.

- See more at: http://www.fairwarning.org/2016/04/ex-whistleblower-investigator-blows-t...

OSHA, A Captured Agency: The Airlines, Trucking And OSHA With Fired OSHA Investigator Darrell Whitman
Has OSHA become a captured agency by the companies it is supposed to regulate? Former Federal OSHA investigator and lawyer Darrell Whitman looks at how the agency has stood up to the biggest companies in the airline and trucking industry. He also talks about how the industry controls the agency so it will not hold them accountable to OSHA and health and safety regulations and the affects of privatization and outsourcing of Federal jobs by privateers.
He looks at FedEx, Lockheed and other companies that are flagrantly violating the health and safety rights of workers and also threatening the health and safety of the public.
This interview was done in February 2015. On May 5, 2015 Whitman was fired by the Agency management and he and the whistleblowers he was trying to defend after receiving merit recommendations are still fighting for justice.
For more information:
Production of Labor Video Project

Whistleblower Protection Program & Fired WPP OSHA Investigator Lawyer Darrell Whitman With GAP Louis Clark
Louis Clark, lawyer and co-founder of the Government Accountability Project GAP in Washington DC discusses the Whistleblower Protection Project and how it is working including the affect of deregulation and privatization of government agencies that protect health and safety and the environment..
The Whistleblower Protection Program WPP is supposed to protect Federal whistleblowers throughout the United States government. He also talks about the systemic corruption in the Department of Labor DOL and OSHA and the retaliation and firing of OSHA WPP investigator, lawyer and AFGE Local 2371 steward Darrell Whitman. Clark talks about the problem of bullying of AFGE members in San Francisco OSHA Region 9 office who were seeking to protect workers who were retaliated for doing their jobs and faced retaliation themselves by the management. He also discusses reports that OSHA officials met privately with Lockheed Martin, Test America H.I.G. Capital, PG&E and other companies to criminally collude to dismiss merit complaints and coerce bad settlements for workers retaliated against for whistleblowing. He discusses the potential criminal obstruction of justice by top government officials including ALJ judges who are aware of the corruption charges and conspired to cover them up.
He also discusses the efforts of GAP to develop rules that will be enforced to protect all government whistleblowers including in the financial industry to prevent another financial crisis like 2008.
This interview was done on March 10, 2016 in San Franciso by KPFA WorkWeek journalist Steve Zeltzer
For more information:
Government Accountability Project
HIG TestAmerica
Madry Court Cases
Production of Labor Video Project

WW 3-29-16 OSHA Chief Michaels and DOL Secretary Perez In Corruption Scandal With OSHA Whistleblower Darrell Whitman And Fired OSHA Manager Adam Finkel
WorkWeek looks at the growing corruption scandal at the Department of Labor DOL and OHSA. We interview fired OSHA investigator and lawyer Darrell Whitman who is a steward in AFGE Local 2371 and Adam Finkel who is a OSHA management whistleblower and was fired from OSHA. He now is a Senior Fellow and Executive Director of Penn Program on Regulation, University of Pennsylvania.
They discuss the nearly complete failure of OSHA and the Whistleblower Protection Program to defend health and safety whistleblowers and also the criminal collusion between OSHA, DOL and the AJL with corporations they are supposed to regulate. Whitman discusses the role of ALJ Judge Steven B. Berlin who criminally colluding with Test America/H.I.G. Capital to limit their liability in the retaliation against OSHA whistleblower Michael Madry who was a Quality Assurance Manager at Test America which is owned by H.I.G. Capital. He was bullied, terrorized and fired by Test America/H.I.G. Capital after exposing massive fraudulent testing of toxic dump sites like San Francisco Hunters Point Naval Shipyard and Treasure Island. According to Whitman tens of thousands of test results on asbestos and other toxins were fraudulent and this was kept a secret by OSHA and the DOL putting the public in danger. He also reports that OSHA chief David Michaels and DOL secretary Tom Perez were personally involved in a criminal conspiracy to cover up his firings and those of other AFGE workers in the Region 9 office of OSHA Whistleblower Protection Program.
Adam Finkel talks about the role of the management in seeking to shutdown the protection of OSHA whistleblowers and the lack of accountability.
Further media and info:
Production of WorkWeek Radio