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BLET backs proposed Essential Workers Bill of Rights

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, April 20 — The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) is supporting an Essential Workers Bill of Rights that has been proposed in the United State Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives that is designed to help better protect the health and safety frontline workers and provide hazard pay during the coronavirus pandemic.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Representative Ro Khanna (CA) have unveiled this proposal, and have called for the next coronavirus relief legislation to include the policies contained in the Essential Workers Bill of Rights.

According to the press release introducing the Essential Workers Bill of Rights, these workers are on the frontlines of this pandemic, and many are working under high-risk conditions without appropriate equipment, safety standards, or job protections. They include doctors, nurses, home care workers and other healthcare workers, grocery store and drug store employees, domestic workers, food service workers, federal, state, and municipal employees, janitorial staff, farm workers, delivery drivers, warehouse workers, transportation workers, and child care workers.

Reports indicate that these workers may be contracting COVID-19 at a higher rate than the general public. The BLET is supporting the Essential Workers Bill of Rights in part because it would mandate hazard pay for essential workers along with specific health and safety protections, appropriate compensation, paid sick leave, whistleblower protections, and protections for collective bargaining agreements.

“We would like to say thank you for supporting the hardworking women and men who are essential workers the nation cannot live without,” BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce wrote in letters to Sen. Warren and Rep. Khanna. “They are keeping the country going during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our members are on the front lines of this crisis and are helping to ensure delivery of critical food, personal protective equipment and hospital equipment in the effort to save lives. Railroad workers also are ensuring that the public can move safely on America’s passenger rail network, so workers in other industries also are able to work and help America.”

A copy of the proposed Essential Workers Bill of Rights can be found here (PDF).

Monday, April 20, 2020

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