President Biden has nominated current Cal/OSHA Chief Doug Parker to serve as Assistant Secretary of Labor to head up federal OSHA. The position has been vacant since the inception of the current administration. Parker was appointed to his Cal/OSHA post in 2019. He served in prior US Labor Department roles during the Obama Administration and is widely considered a pro-worker ally. He served on the Biden Transition Team following the 2020 election.
Parker is one of the architects of the roundly-criticized Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) which was unsuccessfully challenged in state court as both procedurally defective and substantively unnecessary. It remains an open question as to whether federal OSHA will continue to pursue its own COVID ETS. Despite the administration’s early signaling that one should be developed and strong union support, the Department of Labor appears to have tabled any action in light of the efficacy of existing standards and guidance, the COVID vaccination rollouts and OSHA’s largely futile efforts in seeking to implement emergency standards in prior circumstances.