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NY Essential Workers Table: Protections for Covid-19 and Beyond

The Crisis: Across the state, frontline workers are being sent to work without proper protective equipment (PPE), sanitation, social distancing policies, access to hygiene. When workers raise concerns about health and safety, they are facing retaliation or have little to no voice about safety plans. The coronavirus pandemic was particularly devastating for black and brown communities — Black and Latinx New Yorkers were twice as likely to die from Covid-19 as white New Yorkers. During the first wave, workplace transmissions were a key driver of Covid-19 spread, particularly in Black and Brown communities where essential workers never stopped working. We need a plan for this pandemic and whatever comes next.

The Movement: A coalition of more than 70 unions, worker centers, and community organizations representing millions of workers across the state are coming together to demand health and safety in the workplace. From nurses to delivery drivers, sanitation workers to school bus drivers, a cross sector, statewide coalition united during the pandemic to create a united front to fight for health and safety in the workplace.

 

Action: It is critical that the State of New York enshrine health and safety standards into law and promote cooperation between workers and employers to ensure that every workplace is safe. We can do that by passing the NY HERO Act as quickly as possible.The NY HERO Act would direct the New York State Department of Labor to establish requirements for testing, face masks, PPE, social distancing, hand hygiene, disinfection, and engineering controls.

The NY HERO Act would also empower workers to protect their own safety, their workplaces, and customers through cooperation with employers. The law allows for workers to form health and safety committees with representatives from their employers to discuss health and safety plans and ensure that standards are being met. Workers who choose to form committees would be protected from retaliation.

Contact jake@alignny.org for more information on this campaign. You can also visit protectnyheroes.org