Tim Burga, President of the Ohio AFL-CIO spoke with America’s Work Force to discuss the protection of frontline workers who are still required to work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Due to the quick spread of COVID-19, many businesses decided that for the safety of their employees, they would shut down or have employees work from home until the pandemic is under control. Some workers, however, are deemed essential workers and are still going to their workplaces. These essential workers work at places like, but not limited to, construction sites, public transportation and grocery stores. Burga explained that while these workers are essential, they should be properly protected from the ongoing pandemic.
Burga stressed that since these workers are at a higher risk, they should be compensated better for it. He discussed the possibility of an increase in pay for frontline workers and how he believes they should be paid more. Burga then talked about providing employees with proper protection, such as gloves, masks and disinfectants. Some businesses, like Walmart, are completely disregarding safety recommendations and are putting their employees at high risk, and into high stress situations. Lastly, he explained how unions have been taking extra steps to ensure their members are properly protected while working during the pandemic.
Mark Gaston Pearce from the Georgetown Workers Rights Institute spoke about how some people will not be able to receive a stimulus check. In order to receive a stimulus check, the individual must have a social security number. This affects undocumented workers who do not have a social security number, but still pay taxes. Gaston Pearce also talked about the union effort to fix unethical business behaviors by employers not providing employees with any type of protections. He said that unions are fighting hard to ensure that frontline workers are given all that is needed to reduce the risk of catching the virus, while still being able to do their jobs.
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