Bill Samuel, Government Affairs Director with the AFL-CIO spoke with America’s Work Force on April 23 to discuss increasing safety regulations to protect essential frontline workers.
The first topic that Samuel discussed was the response from AFL-CIO President, Richard Trumka regarding the Trump Administration’s response to COVID-19. He blamed the President for not responding to the COVID-19 threat earlier and preparing accordingly. Had the President responded appropriately and timely, we may have been able to contain or slow the spread of the virus. Samuel then talked about the first stimulus package. He said that he feels it was slightly rushed, although it did have some good aspects to it, it could have been better. Samuel said there were little to no protections for frontline essential workers, such as hazard pay or requiring employers to provide personal protective equipment for workers. He added that there was no plan to protect pensions in the first stimulus package and no plan for healthcare treatments.
Samuel went on to discuss the importance of the Operational Safety and Health Administration in these trying times. According to Samuel, there needs to be more protective standards put in place to ensure the safety of essential workers. Worker safety should be taken care of and handled responsibly by employers. But sometimes they can’t or won’t take the necessary steps to keep their workers safe, giving importance to OSHA. Samuel said this is also why unionizing is being viewed highly favorably; unions ensure the safety of workers and train them to work safely and efficiently.
Mark Brown, Professor at Capital University Law School in Columbus, OH discussed the stay-at-home order made by Ohio Governor, Mike DeWine. He said that he appreciates how “ahead of the curve,” DeWine was with his orders to keep us safe. But was it a lawful and constitutional order? Brown discussed what needs to be done to keep people safe during the pandemic, while minding legal parameters. Lastly, he gave his perspective on the challenges of teaching college level law classes through video applications.
AWF host Ed “Flash” Ferenc spoke about the need to distribute more personal protective equipment to healthcare workers.
To listen to this show, click the play button below.