This afternoon, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing examining legal liability for companies during the COVID-19 crisis – the stated top priority of Republicans in the next CARES package.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “Instead of widespread testing, safe working conditions and meaningful protections for workers, Republicans are worried about company profits and legal liability for their corporate donors. Their view seems to be that corporations are people in need of special protections and workers are not.”
Workers – many of them immigrants and people of color – are risking their lives when they are forced back to work in industries and operations that are lacking essential safety measures. For example, in the first week after Trump’s recent executive order that forced meatpacking plants to remain open, Bloomberg News reports that the “coronavirus spread at more than twice the national rate in U.S. counties with major meatpacking plants … Confirmed Covid-19 cases jumped 40% during the week following the order in counties with major beef or pork slaughterhouses, compared with a 19% rise nationally.”
Joe Biden spoke for many Americans when he said last week about meatpacking workers, “we owe you.” Meanwhile, Republicans’ misplaced top priority on legal liability says to companies, “we’ll cover for you.”