The Washington Post is reporting that Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Senate have reached a compromise on legislation to reform the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). This essentially ensures that the legislation (S.2045) will pass the Senate within the next couple of months, and then move on to the House of Representatives, where a companion bill is already in the works. This legislation was prompted by the rash of recalls over the past year, which peaked our awareness of unsafe consumer goods, including toys made with lead-based paint.
The Good News: S.2045, the Senate bill, includes a very strong provision to protect whistleblowers who work in manufacturing, distribution, or retailing of consumer products. These employees would have the right to report retaliation to the Department of Labor, and to appeal that decision in federal court.
The Bad News: The House companion bill, which is currently stalled the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, does not include any whistleblower protections. Further, big business lobbyists have expressed vocal opposition to any bill that includes whistleblower protection, and they are fighting very hard behind the scenes to make sure that it is left out of the final language.
The National Whistleblower Center has issued an action alert on this issue and is urging all concerned citizens to take part.