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McEachin urges leadership to exclude corporate immunity from COVID-19 relief

(© W. Scott McGill –

Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) and Congressman Matt Cartwright (PA-08) are urging House and Senate leadership to reject proposals for comprehensive federal corporate immunity in forthcoming COVID-19 relief packages.

The members stressed in a letter to leaders the need to adopt clear, science-based, enforceable federal health and safety standards. Such standards would ensure businesses reopen and operate safely, securing the appropriate protection of their workers and customers.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented hardships for businesses and individuals alike, and we recognize the importance of getting America up and running again as quickly and as safely as possible,” the letter reads. “From nursing homes that failed to provide adequate and appropriate personal protective equipment for caregivers and residents, to food processing facilities that did not properly inform workers of potential and confirmed coronavirus cases at the facilities, to employers who punished workers for refusing to work without facemasks and other appropriate personal protective equipment, our communities have witnessed first-hand what happens when businesses fail to ensure the safety of their workplaces.”

The letter was announced by McEachin during a virtual event hosted by Friends of the Earth featuring a variety of voices standing together against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s corporate immunity agenda, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Dr. David Michaels, former OSHA administrator and leaders from: Public Citizen; the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network; the Center for International Environmental Law; the Rural Community Workers Alliance in Missouri; the American Federation of Teachers; and the Climate Justice Alliance.

“Make no mistake about it: passing into law sweeping corporate immunity would make our nation sicker, not safer,” said McEachin.  “We have already seen first-hand the devastating impacts on workers and consumers when essential businesses fail to take the necessary precautions to protect their employees and patrons. Essential workers, many of whom are from underserved communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, are on the frontlines of this global health crisis. Rather than give corporations a free pass from all accountability, we should be fighting to ensure workers and consumers receive robust protections. I look forward to passing into a law a bill that stands up for workers and consumers, and that holds businesses accountable for meeting necessary COVID-19 safety standards during this crisis.”