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How Business Weakened COVID Workplace Protections

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A recently uncovered draft of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)’s COVID-19-related worker protection standards reveals that the Biden administration originally planned to issue a much broader version of the long-awaited rules than the final standards released by the agency last month. The changes came after intense lobbying efforts by major business groups, including the US Chamber of Commerce.

On June 10, OSHA released the emergency temporary standard (ETS) for workers during the COVID-19 pandemic that President Joe Biden had been calling for since he first took office. Labor unions had had high hopes for broad protections: unlike guidances typically issued by OSHA, ETS requirements are legally enforceable. However, the final rules were limited to only cover health care workers.

Coupled with the Centers for Disease Control and…

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