Workers
Opinion

DeSantis Attacks Workers

On Nov. 18, Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Florida, signed a bill aiming to withdraw the state of Florida from OSHA, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration — whose job it is to enforce health and safety standards for millions of workers across the country.

DeSantis’s decision to have Florida withdraw from OSHA is a political move meant to empower the governor’s office, playing politics with the livelihoods of millions of hard-working Floridians.

Coming from someone who claims to have only the freedom of his constituents in mind, this is rather ironic. Yet it is not a surprise; DeSantis has shown a remarkable willingness to disregard his beliefs to pursue personal gain.

Now, it may seem like DeSantis’s action is insignificant. After all, 22 states and territories — ranging from Alaska to Wyoming and spanning the entirety of the American political spectrum —  have now done what Florida claims to do. However, none of them are running their unique versions of OSHA with prospects of political gain in mind, unlike DeSantis.

Notably, DeSantis decided to embark on this new quest following the Biden administration’s decision to implement vaccine rules through OSHA. Only then did DeSantis, who fancies himself the Liberator of the People, decide to have the ‘courage’ to ‘liberate’ the people from being safe and healthy.

In a statement provided to the Florida Political Review, former governor and current U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Florida, excoriated DeSantis for his complete and total surrender to the virus.

Crist, who is also running for governor in the Democratic primary, blasted DeSantis’s decision to have Florida leave OSHA as “wrongheaded and an empty threat.”

Crist also pointed out that DeSantis will likely only achieve wasting millions of Floridians’ tax dollars to prove a petty point. 

“Any state workforce agency created by the DeSantis Administration would have to be approved by the federal government and rise to the same standard set by OSHA… the very thing Governor DeSantis and his Republican allies are trying to get around,” said Crist. 

This makes DeSantis’s recent actions even more frustrating. Surely he knows that he will still have to follow federal guidelines and consequently, a prospective ‘FLOSHA’ will still have to have its rules approved by the federal OSHA.

Despite this, DeSantis wants to cater to his extremist, conspiracy-theory-fueled base. He wants to show that he is Florida’s master, that he alone can determine the fate of millions of Floridians. This doesn’t even acknowledge the Supremacy Clause in the U.S. Constitution, which places state authorities below the power of the federal government.

The only state comparable in population to Florida with its own version of OSHA is California. Their program, Cal/OSHA, has a proposed budget of roughly $169 million in 2021. If Florida is to fund their proposed FLOSHA at similar levels — based on Florida’s current population — FLOSHA would cost roughly $91.7 million, exclusively funded by Floridians.

This will only hurt the people DeSantis claimed he will help. 

The very workers who would be ‘freed’ by DeSantis’s proposal will be paying to support it. In all likelihood, DeSantis will likely try (and fail) to turn it into an arm of the Republican Party’s reactionary, anti-working families agenda.

Crist agrees. He emphasized that DeSantis’s “effort is predestined to fail and only serves to waste more Floridians’ hard earned taxpayer dollars for yet another political stunt.” 

He also pointed out the elephant in the room — DeSantis’s widely known presidential ambitions for 2024. 

“Instead of running for president, Governor DeSantis should do his job” said Crist.

Sadly, the fact of the matter is that DeSantis is done governing Florida.

When he was governor, Crist was instrumental in managing Florida’s response to the H1N1 crisis in 2009 and 2010. With firsthand knowledge of how to manage a massive inoculation programme, he suggested DeSantis should “do all he can to get Floridians vaccinated and boosted” before another deadly winter threatens to overrun Florida’s health system — especially in the rise of concern surrounding the Omicron variant.

However, it is improbable that DeSantis will put any effort into doing anything outside of fanning the flames of America’s divides. He is clearly committed to Republican extremism. This includes trying to eliminate the federal government from Floridians’ lives, no matter the consequences.

DeSantis also put on full display the extraordinary fealty the Republicans in the state legislature give him. During the special legislative session he called to deal with nonexistent issues, DeSantis was given everything he wanted and more; Republicans passed his entire agenda while Democrats stood paralyzed on the sidelines.

This included having the legislature pass a bill endorsing DeSantis’s plan to have Florida leave OSHA after he sued them for implementing common-sense vaccine rules. In the Florida House of Representatives, the bill, HB 5B, passed 76 to 38. Then it headed to the Florida Senate where it passed 23 to 13.

Then, in case you thought his style of ‘governing’ was not divisive enough, DeSantis had the gall to sign the bill in Brandon, Florida. This is a nod to a new code used to insult President Joe Biden, dreamed up by Republicans who think Democrats have nothing better to do than plot the downfall of Republicans everywhere.

DeSantis obviously is done with trying to get others to accept his failed, fascist agenda. Instead, he continues to position himself for political success in the future.

“The last thing Florida needs,” as Crist says, is “a soft-on-COVID-19 governor shepherding in another deadly wave of the pandemic.” 

Unfortunately, it looks like that is exactly what we do have. For the foreseeable future, he’ll continue to play petty, partisan political games at the expense of our health.

Check out other recent articles from Florida Political Review here.

Featured image: A group of workers celebrates winning an award for proper workplace safety practices, presented by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). Unmodified photo taken by NASA and used under the public domain.(bit.ly/3IssQUh)

One Comment

  • AFloridaIndependent

    This should be named makecristrelevant.com. I’m rolling my eyes at the blatant partisan views and favoring of Crist. As a household of Independents, I can’t say we are happy with all of Desanis’ theatrics, but by far we could do worse…like be stuck with Crist. Whether it’s Republicans or Democrats, I’ve never heard anyone say a kind or even hopeful thing about Crist. If you want to be a respected, political opinion and legitimately supply Floridians with political reviews, then be critical without sounding like a sad puff piece.

    A Millennial Floridian Independent

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