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The Common Agenda

Priority Action 10

Promote Corporate Accountability for Community and Workplace Health and Safety

This action calls on corporations, community and labor leaders and government decision-makers to take steps through legislation, enforcement and their purchasing power to establish United States companies as models of sustainable production.

Suggested steps to promote corporate accountability for community and workplace health and safety include:

  • reversing incentives for United States companies to operate where regulations do not exist or are not enforced, and requiring that all employers (private and public) follow United States and international labor, environmental and consumer policies and procedures while operating on our shores or in other countries;
  • expanding and reforming occupational health protections (with the participation of workers and non-governmental community health advocates), including permissible exposure levels, chemical release data, “right-to-know” and “right-to-say-no” programs in order to more effectively protect worker, community health and the health of future generations;
  • building into international trade agreements the strongest environmental, consumer, labor, and workplace standards possible;
  • creating incentives for corporations to move away from business models based solely on short-term quarterly profits for shareholders and towards long-term planning and reporting standards that incorporate the operating costs and benefits to public health and the environment;
  • reforming inspection and audit systems at the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency by requiring annual certification of enforcement standards and the identification and mitigation of safety and health hazards;
  • enhancing the rights of workers to refuse unsafe work conditions and discrimination with steps such as increasing union density, instituting policies such as the Employee Free Choice Act, and repealing “right-to-work” state laws that undermine employees’ right to unionize;
  • providing funding for coalitions that enable labor, health advocates, environmentalists, and occupational health and safety groups to work together to ensure that environmental and consumer protections are not achieved at the expense of healthy and just workplaces;
  • democratizing the boards of publicly held corporations to include stakeholders, such as consumers, employees, local businesses and communities affected by corporate decisions.