There is a lot of talk about the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate, compliance and how it’s going to work. The agency in charge of formulating and enforcing the mandate is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a subagency under the Department of Labor. OSHA is currently being led by Acting Assistant Secretary Jim Frederick, the organization’s principal deputy assistant secretary. Frederick’s background includes 25 years working for United Steelworkers, ending his career as an assistant director.
Douglas L. Parker was nominated to be assistant secretary and is currently undergoing the Senate confirmation process. Parker has an extensive background working on health and safety issues. He currently is the chief of California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health and, before that, served as deputy assistant secretary for policy and senior policy advisor for the Mine Safety and Health Administration during the Obama administration.
Additional OSHA staff members include Career Senior Executive Service member and Deputy Assistant Secretary Amanda Edens, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Pandemic and Emergency Response Joseph Hughes, Chief of Staff Leah Ford, and Senior Advisor Ann Rosenthal. Ford brings more than 25 years of experience in the labor movement, including a stint as a union representative and 18 years at the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, where she was chief of staff and counsel to the General Secretary Treasurer’s office. Rosenthal previously served as deputy solicitor and then associate solicitor of OSHA.
A few concerns with OSHA are understaffing and budget constraints — six out of OSHA’s 10 regional offices are led by regional administrators who are serving on an acting capacity. Additionally, the Directorate of Enforcement Programs is also seeking a permanent director. Under the Trump administration, OSHA’s budget was $591.8 million, and the Biden administration has requested $664.6 million, with the House Democrats seeking $692 million.