The Politics of Regulatory Reform
When analysts write about regulatory politics at OSHA, they typically describe the process as "a product of the ongoing conflict between labor and management"1 in which "the whole burden of U.S. labor history...has been loaded on OSHA."2 Indeed, it is said that the very nature of the agency's task generates "continuing organized conflict" between business and unions.3 So what are the prospects for regulatory reform under these circumstances? Not very good. After all, any meaningful reform must somehow come to grips with "the sharply different goals held by the agency's opposed publics," which is doubtful in light of "the clear, almost petrified, polarization of management and labor."4 The prevailing view of regulatory politics at OSHA thus stresses one factor above all -- union-business conflict.
Now consider the origins of the Cooperative Compliance Program. Contrary to what the prevailing view would predict, it was labor and management (construction unions and their employers) that developed and promoted the CCPtogether while OSHA opposed the new policy. Only after a long process of negotiation and political maneuvering was that opposition overcome and OSHA agreed to implement the program. But how could this be if regulatory politics at OSHA is one of organized conflict? How could it be that business and unions together came up with the CCP? And