Weekly Update: Reopening must center workers and hard hit communities

Dear allies and supporters,

On Monday, Governor Baker announced his four-phase reopening plan for Massachusetts. This plan does not take into account those who are greatly affected by this reopening, including low-income families, communities of color and those in need of child care. We must continue to move toward a comprehensive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that does not leave our communities without support.

This week, we urge you to take action and call on Gov. Baker, legislators, state representatives and other high power officials to do what is right. You can help us promote these actions by sharing our Facebook posts or by following and retweeting us on Twitter. Also, sign up on our website for regular updates.

Take Action

Tell Governor Baker: Reopening plan must protect workers and hard-hit communities

We are calling on Governor Baker to ensure that all ongoing discussions of Massachusetts’ COVID-19 response and recovery include robust representation of labor, communities of color, seniors, and public health experts from across the State.
Take two minutes to sign our petition. Visit our website at macovidresponse.com for more opportunities to take action.


MassCOSH Gives Gov. Baker’s Reopening Plans Failing Grades

Over the last eight weeks, thousands of essential workers in Massachusetts have become ill and even died as a result of their exposure to SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) on the job. The reopening plan, released by Governor Baker, lacks the ability to adequately protect these workers during this health and safety crisis. This comes as no surprise, since Baker’s Reopening Advisory Board (RAB) overlooks frontline workers, unions and those with occupational health and safety expertise. An amended plan is needed immediately that will include essential elements and truly protect workers – and the public – from COVID-19. In addition, the State must allocate the resources needed to build capacity to conduct worksite investigations, enforcement, data analysis and technical assistance to employers. 

Read more about the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health’s report card.


Pandemic Profiteer Watch

Governors’ reopening plan grants corporate wishes by letting employers off the hook 

Baker’s reopening plan, released Monday, grants the wishes of corporations and  groups like the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce that had hoped for a reopening plan “guided but not regulated by the government.” Among its many other problems, Baker’s plan grants the wishes of GBCC and its corporate cohort by letting employers almost completely off the hook for putting workers at risk. In its revealing report card on the reopening plan, the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH)  gave Baker an F in “Enforcement of Health and Safety Standards.” 

The Boston Business Journal agreed that the State is taking a ”more lenient approach to Covid-19 fines, penalties,” allowing multiple violations before a cease-and-desist order may be issued. This toothless approach is even weaker than it seems because it relies on workers and customers to report violations but provides no clear way to do so–and no protections for whistleblower workers. The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce is happy with the hands-off aspects of Baker’s reopening plan, saying “the plan relies heavily on guidance rather than regulation, which businesses prefer.” Unfortunately, the plan favored by the GBCC, Governor Baker, and the corporate-heavy RAB is reckless and dangerous for all of us. Read more on our blog. 

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If there is a topic we should feature in our weekly communications, please email Lindsay McCluskey at lindsay@massclu.org.  

Thank you for reading!

In Solidarity,

Community Labor United

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