OSHA uses opinion letter to evade CRA and force union access on nonunion workplaces

In February of 2013, a Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Obama Administration’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) unilaterally decreed that OSHA inspectors could bring union officials along with them on worksite safety inspections on non-unionized employers, so long as one employee requests it, and without the employer’s consent. One federal court has already ruled that the Fairfax Memo is inconsistent with federal statute.

This interpretive memo gives union organizers relatively unfettered access to workplaces across the nation that would not be available under normal union access rules. Despite working this fundamental change in federal labor relations, it was never submitted to Congress, as required by the CRA. It is subject to a pending legal challenge, but submission and disapproval by Congress would prevent any future administration from trying to resurrect this union giveaway.

Link to Fairfax Memo on U.S. Department of Labor website: https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=28604

Press release on Pacific Legal Foundation suit challenging the Fairfax Memo: https://www.pacificlegal.org/release-9-8-16-nfib-4-1558

U.S. District Court Ruling in PLF lawsuit, identifying illegal aspects of the Fairfax Memo: http://blog.pacificlegal.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/NFIB-v.-OSHA-decision.pdf