On Wednesday, the Senate’s Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) approved two nominations for key Department of Labor (DOL) posts, moving forward the nominations for DOL’s top lawyer and the head of OSHA. The committee voted 12-11 in favor of Scott Mugno to be considered and confirmed by the Senate as the next assistant secretary of labor for OSHA. On a voice vote, the HELP Committee recommended Kate O’Scannlain to become the next Solicitor for DOL. We anticipate that both nominees will be considered by the full Senate by the end of the calendar year, if not as early as next week.
When confirmed, Mr. Mugno will bring a diverse background to OSHA’s top post. During his December 5, 2017 confirmation hearing, Mr. Mugno shared with the HELP Committee that he had been a union steward while working his way through college. After law school, he served in the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps. He then went on to lead safety at a major international company, FedEx. These experiences may explain in part why Mr. Mugno’s testimony focused on safety being a team sport and the important role labor unions can have in workplace safety.
Ms. O’Scannlain appeared in front of the HELP Committee in November. Perhaps recognizing the post-Harvey Weinstein workplace climate, she expressed concerns with mandatory employer arbitration clauses, suggesting that they may exacerbate workplace harassment concerns by masking serial offenders.