Virginia has recently become the first state to pass a permanent workplace virus protection standard. Now some states are seeking to follow suit and develop a standard of their own.
Virginia AFL-CIO President Doris Crouse-Mays joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the standard, So-Called “Right to Work,” how working people have become heroes because of the pandemic and more.
Poultry factory explosion
Recently, an explosion in a Georgia poultry factory killed six employees and injured 11. Additionally, four firefighters were injured and taken to the hospital.
Crouse-Mays said workers need to demand change in the workplace. Additionally, she said employers need to do better for their employees. They should be going above and beyond in the safety department to ensure every worker can safely do their job and return home, safely, at the end of the day.
Virginia’s permanent workplace protections
As a So-Called “Right to Work” state, it came as a surprise to some in the labor community that Virginia was able to pass permanent legislation mandating protections for workers regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
The standard ensures that all employers exhaust every option for respiratory protection, including locating masks and more. Employers must also work with the state to provide supplies such as sanitizing materials and other personal protective equipment.
She said that while some companies have been good about protecting employees, many are doing the bare minimum of providing surgical masks, which do not prevent the spread of COVID-19. She believes employers should go above and beyond to find protections for their employees.
So-Called “Right to Work” in Virginia
Virginia was one of the first states to pass So-Called “Right to Work” legislation. Now there are strong calls to repeal the legislation.
Crouse-Mays said the key to turning the opinion on “Right to Work” is to educate people. The average American does not know what So-Called “Right to Work” is. When people hear unions saying “Right to Work” is wrong, they assume unions are the bad player in the picture. However, the term “Right to Work” is dishonest.