June 24, 2019
Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Madam Speaker, I rise today to recognize the achievements of Margaret ``Peg'' Seminario, who has made the health and safety of American workers her life's work and is retiring after 42 years of tireless advocacy. Through her more than four decades of work at the AFL-CIO, Peg has been instrumental in securing the health and lives of millions of workers.

Peg began her work at the AFL-CIO in 1977 during the early years of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). She worked with many of the authors of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to develop the policies, win the court decisions, and build the infrastructure that have helped millions of American workers realize their right to safe workplaces.

She worked closely with the labor leaders who fought to pass the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act--George Taylor, Tony Mazzocchi, Jack Sheehan and many others.

She played a major role in assembling the evidence, preparing comments, testifying at hearings, and assisting allies in passing almost every OSHA safety and health standard over the past 42 years including: silica, beryllium, asbestos, lead, noise, ergonomics, machine guarding, methylene chloride, lockout-tagout, and workers' Right-to-Know. These standards prevented countless injuries, deaths and occupational diseases.

She led the effort to protect working people from occupational exposure to anthrax, bird flu, SARS, workplace violence, and tuberculosis.

She led the fight to win passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act that provided health care and compensation for the first responders who got sick after they responded to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

Peg served on numerous National Academy of Sciences and federal advisory committees, providing her expertise on a wide range of workplace safety and health issues, including the extent and nature of work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths occurring in the United States.

Peg was also one of the first professional women to work at the AFL-CIO, blazing the path for those who followed, and she served as a mentor for generations of women labor leaders.

She advised those inside and outside the labor movement on practical strategies to move forward on seemingly insoluble issues. As she kept workers' goals in mind, her feet were always planted in practical politics. She approached the toughest political challenges by asking a simple, familiar question: ``What makes sense?''

Working with the business community and other traditional foes of labor were part of her strategic arsenal when that approach ``made sense'' to accomplish the goals of working people.

With an advanced degree in industrial hygiene from the Harvard School of Public Health, she served as a trusted advisor to almost every Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA--Democrat and Republican--over the last 40 years.

Finally, she understood the role that worker empowerment and labor unions play in ensuring the safety of working women and men.

``Let's call Peg'' was the first thing out of the mouth of generations of members of Congress and congressional staff. She testified before numerous congressional committees and provided valuable information and advice to lawmakers on every budget, every piece of legislation designed to strengthen worker protections, and every response to legislative efforts to weaken or dismantle OSHA, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) or the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Madam Speaker, there are men and women across the county who are alive today because of her work. They may not know who she is. She will not receive their gratitude. But they owe their health, their limbs and their lives to the work she has done over 42 year long career. I thank Peg for all that she has done for America's workers.