Washington D.C. – After a staggering ten million Americans joined the unemployment ranks in two weeks’ time, Trump Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia has been conspicuously absent from the national response. The former high-powered corporate attorney turned Labor Secretary has barely shown his face publicly for much other than Fox News interviews while millions of workers have been left hanging, clamoring for guidance and support on a host of serious and unprecedented labor issues.
There is no clear plan from the DOL on how to ensure all those who apply for jobless benefits will receive them within two weeks. No emergency standard issued for hospital safety. No federal guidance for workers fearing for their health and safety but have been deemed “essential” by employers that have stretched the definition to ridiculous degrees. Nowhere for workers especially vulnerable to the COVID-19 danger like cashiers, warehouse employees or transit workers to turn when their employers refuse to take steps to protect them or provide hazard pay.
“Workers across the country are struggling with how to make ends meet and stay safe during this unprecedented crisis, but Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia is nowhere to be found,” said Derek Martin, director of Allied Progress. “What America’s workers need now is a Labor Secretary that has their back and can advocate for their best interests. Instead they have a former corporate attorney who is keeping his head down when workers need him most.”
SECRETARY SCALIA FALLING DOWN ON THE JOB:
Groups Of Legislators And Major Unions Urged OSHA To Implement Mandatory Emergency Standards To Help Protect Workers From COVID-19. [Insurance Journal, 3/16/20]
· House Committee On Education And Labor Specifically Called On Secretary Scalia To Direct OSHA To Issue Emergency Standards. [U.S. House Of Representatives Committee On Education And Labor – Press Release, 3/6/20]
Public Records Showed That DOL Had Failed To Mandate Hospital Safety Standards To Protect Healthcare Workers. [Center for Public Integrity, 3/30/20]
New York Times: Workers For Grocery Delivery Service Instacart Said The Company Failed To Provide Them With Personal Protective Equipment Or Hazard Pay. [New York Times, 3/28/20]
Workers For The Delivery Company Shipt, Owned by Target, Said The Company Failed To Include Hazard Pay Or Provide Personal Protective Equipment. [The Hill,4/6/20]
USA Today: Amazon Warehouse Employees Said Amazon Failed To Properly Clean Its Facility After Several Employees Tested Positive For COVID-19, Threatening A Walkoff. [USA Today, 3/29/20]
Plant Workers At A Perdue Farms In Georgia Allege The Company Didn’t Do Enough To Prevent COVID 19 Infection. [Wall Street Journal, 4/1/20]
Greeley Tribune: Workers At The JBS Swift Beef Plant, Declared Essential By The State, Alleged The Company Has Not Responded Appropriately To Employees Testing Positive For COVID 19. [Greeley Tribune, 4/2/20]
New York Times, Steven Greenhouse: Supermarket Cashiers, Pharmacists, And Other Workers Continued Reporting To Work Without Proper COVID-19 Protections. [New York Times Opinion – Steven Greenhouse, 3/30/20]