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Cruel and Unusual Punishment for Workers: McConnell and Trump Put Corporate Profits Over Frontline Workers’ Safety

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29, 2020

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Cruel and Unusual Punishment for Workers: McConnell and Trump Put Corporate Profits Over Frontline Workers’ Safety

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As some states take steps toward reopening businesses, lobbyists are urging the White House and Congress to shield these corporations from lawsuits filed by frontline workers and patrons infected with coronavirus. Last week, Trump and his top economic adviser Larry Kudlow argued that corporations should not be held liable for the risks they are forcing on workers and customers by prematurely reopening for business. On Monday, Mitch McConnell echoed them, saying the Senate would consider corporate liability protections a top priority when senators return to Washington.

Tax March Executive Director Maura Quint responded:

“The president is making an irresponsible choice letting businesses reopen before the country is able to take proper precautions. Not only is he putting workers’ lives at risk, he’s making them choose between their physical health and their economic health. By taking all liability away from employers, the president and his advisers are giving companies free rein to prioritize profits over their employees’ lives. 

Too many grocery workers, health care providers, and manufacturing workers have already died from this virus because of unchecked corporate greed. Businesses should not open without concrete plans for keeping their workers and customers safe, but history has shown us that if they are not held accountable, they will put their own profits over human lives. Allowing this cruelty to take place unchecked is yet another example of Donald Trump and Republicans choosing corporations over people, and money over lives.”

While megacorporations like Amazon and Walmart face lawsuits and mounting pressure from workers and the families of workers who have died from coronavirus on the job, Trump and McConnell insist on sweeping these lost lives under the rug to protect corporate interests.

Enough is enough.

Pandemic relief means ongoing and robust financial support for individual people and families, paid leave, funding for health care providers’ needs like tests and protective equipment, and strict public health measures to safeguard the public against this unprecedented virus — not corporate bailouts at the expense and survival of workers.

Unless Trump, McConnell, and policymakers across the country put people over profits during this pandemic, megacorporations will survive and rake in money, while the rest of us will continue losing loved ones and facing bills we cannot pay. They must put the health and safety of the American public first — we cannot afford the alternative. 

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