Scott Statement on Workers’ Memorial Day

April 28, 2020
Press Release

As originally released by the Committee on Education & Labor

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), the Chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor, issued the following statement in honor of Workers' Memorial Day.

“As we mark Workers’ Memorial Day this year, we remember the workers who have lost their lives and recommit to making workplaces safe. This year’s remembrance comes at a particularly poignant time as our nation experiences its worst worker safety crisis in recent history. The Centers for Disease Control reports that more than 22,000 health care workers have been infected with COVID-19 and more than 70 have died.  Meanwhile, thousands of workers in meat processing plants, grocery stores, prisons, nursing homes, postal facilities, and other workplaces falling ill and even dying.

“The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) could immediately protect workers and save lives by using its existing authority to issue an Emergency Temporary Safety Standard that requires employers to implement infection control plans to prevent exposure to the coronavirus.  Despite widespread infections recurring in several categories of worksites, such as senior citizen homes, grocery stores; jails, prisons, and other detention centers; mail and package processing locations; and meat packing plants, the federal agency charged with protecting workers’ safety has failed to issue an enforceable standard to protect workers.

“For the economy to successfully re-open, it will require strong OSHA regulations and enforcement to prevent a new wave of infections. However, if OSHA will not voluntarily fulfill its responsibility, Congress must take action to protect workers.  Accordingly, I joined my colleagues last week in introducing the COVID-19 Every Worker Protection Act of 2020which would require OSHA to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard to protect workers from COVID-19 infections and protect workers from retaliation for insisting on adequate safety protections.  This legislation must be included in the next COVID-19 response package.

“As we honor fallen workers on this day, let us commit to doing everything we can to keep workers safe.”

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