WASHINGTON — Robert A. Rowland, embattled director of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, resigned today just after the Office of Government Ethics cleared him of conflict of interest in a review of $1 million in stock holdings he has in industries which he regulates.
Rowland said in a letter of resignation to President Reagan that he is leaving July 1.
A former Texas campaign fund-raiser for Reagan, Rowland was appointed assistant secretary of labor in charge of OSHA last July.
He has been criticized for recent decisions affecting the health and safety of employees in the nation's 4.5 million workplaces. He was also accused by a congressional subcommittee of harassing agency employees who disagreed with his decisions.
There was rejoicing over his resignation by organized labor. "For the health and safety of all American workers, we hope Rowland will be succeeded by an effective health professional," said AFL-CIO spokesman Rex Hardesty.
Among the objections of trade unionists were the political fund-raising backgrounds of Rowland and of the father of Rowland's predecessor at OSHA, Thorne Auchter. Auchter's father was a campaign fund-raiser for Reagan in Florida while former Labor Secretary Raymond J. Donovan was Reagan's fund-raiser in New Jersey.