Willie Haywood Jr., Sixth District President of Council 262 of the American Federation of Government Employees representing the Veterans Administration Medical Center spoke with America’s Work Force on April 15 to discuss VA staff members and their protections during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, VA employees are doing their best to ensure the safety of themselves and the veterans that they are working with. Haywood said that they are doing their best to wear personal protective equipment when possible, but it has been difficult because they have had to provide themselves with equipment. He explained that during this pandemic many people have been struggling to obtain protective equipment from their employers. Haywood stressed that employers should be required to supply workers with the necessary protections to deal with high risk situations..
Along with protective equipment, Haywood said that frontline workers deserve hazard pay. Hazard pay would be a small increase in hourly pay for these workers to compensate them for the risk of exposure and for any additional stress they may be facing at work. Lastly, Haywood spoke about a nurse at a hospital in Detroit, MI who began experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 but was still required to work. The nurse later tested positive for the virus and likely exposed many others to it.
Jim Renacci, Former Congressman from Ohio and owner of LTC Management, a consulting company, spoke about how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting small businesses across the United States. He explained why he believes the first stimulus package was passed so quickly without the proper review and vetting of the outcomes. Renacci also offered some stories from his son who is an emergency room doctor in New York City. Renacci’s son spoke about the sights that he is witnessing in a hospital with a large number of COVID-19 cases.
AWF host Ed “Flash” Ferenc spoke about Ohio Representative Tim Ryan calling for legislation to stop private equity firms from using COVID-19 to exploit small businesses and prey on them for their money from the CARES Act.
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