the Reform Bill, however, is that OSHA will borrow the expertise from other agencies when it is required, perhaps in the form of detailed personnel.
Answering another query, Mr. Tyson observed that it is a stated goal of this administration to prune OSHA standards and focus enforcement efforts on real hazards, but his evaluation is that the focus will continue to be on compliance, and if the inspectors determine that an employer is deliberately failing to comply, then they will cite that employer on anything they can.
The fate of the Construction Safety, Health, Education and Improvement Bill is unclear, he said. It has been attached to the OSHA Reform Bill but does not fit well with it. The speaker explained that the construction bill was written by members of the construction trades and circulated on Capitol Hill long before the OSHA Reform Bill, which was written by the AFL-CIO. He expects that the differences between those bills will be worked out in committee, if both bills have strong congressional support.
A final question concerned the conflict between the OSHA Reform Bill and a law that formed the basis of National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) actions against two companies, DuPont and Electromation, that had set up safety committees including employee representatives. Late in 1993, NLRB issued decisions against these two companies saying that such employee committees are illegal.
The law applied in these cases was written in the 1930s to prevent companies from establishing sham, company-controlled unions with the goal of stopping their employees from organizing their own unions. The law states that a labor organization cannot receive any support from an employer and defines a labor organization as a group of employees that deals with the employer over any working conditions. A safety committee is a group of employees (even when it also includes management) that deals with the employer over working conditions. Since the companies in question were supporting the committees by paying employees for time spent on committee meetings and by providing space for meetings to be held, Tyson said the groups were clearly illegal according to the 1930s law.
When the OSHA Reform Bill is passed, it will include a statement that the committees mandated by the Reform Act shall not be considered labor organizations for the purposes of the law already on the books and used by NLRB in its findings against Electromation and DuPont. In the meantime, said Tyson, employers are advised to go ahead and establish such committees if they wish and allow them to function until someone files a complaint with NLRB, at which time they should disband the committees and post notices stating their intent not to establish any other such committees. If there is a union involved, an alternative is to negotiate the establishment of such committees as a part of the contract.