Scott Mugno — President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) — got the thumbs up from the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee in a party-line vote Dec. 13. But that vote came after a Dec. 1 hearing in which he was grilled by Sen. Patty Murray of Washington and other Democrats.
Mugno, nominated by Trump on Oct. 27, is currently vice president for safety, sustainability and vehicle maintenance at FedEx Ground. He also chairs the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’ OSHA subcommittee.
“I’m concerned about your record that stands against everything OSHA should stand for,” Murray told Mugno in the hearing.
“During your two-plus decades at FedEx, you have consistently opposed stronger safety and health protections for workers,” Murray said — including OSHA’s proposed respirator and ergonomics standards. “Can you name a single rule proposed by OSHA that during your career you supported?”
“I don’t recall,” Mugno replied.
Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren asked Mugno if he would return to OSHA’s practice of issuing press releases publicizing big fines against egregious job safety violators, which she said serve as a deterrent to other employers. Warren said OSHA averaged 400 such releases a year under Obama, but just 26 so far under Trump. Mugno said he’d “have to consult with staff.”
In the hearing, Mugno said he recognizes the role of unions in enforcing job safety and health. He also said while he was in law school, he was a shop steward for Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Workers Local 1-S at Macy’s in New York City, and filed grievances over job safety problems.
All Republican senators on the committee voted to recommend approval of the nomination, while all Democratic senators voted against.
The full Senate is expected to confirm Mugno early this year.
MORE: Watch the full hearing here.