NY Essential Workers Coalition: Protections for Covid-19 and Beyond
The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the devastating conditions that workers from across industries face during and long before the pandemic. Even after a year into the pandemic, New Yorkers are still 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 face retaliation or have little to no voice about safety plans. This is certainly not new for the working people of New York, and they are sick and tired of being treated as disposable. Workers from across the state are using the Covid-19 crisis to bring to light what they have been facing for decades. We are rising together to build a movement to achieve dignity and justice in the workplace and our communities.
The NY Essential Workers Coalition is made of over 85 unions, worker centers, immigrant rights organizations, legal service providers, health and safety organizations, and community-based organizations. Together, we saw that working people were denied the basic right to a safe and healthy workplace, and together we are building a statewide movement to protect our communities.
The NY Essential Workers Coalition built the NY HERO Act from the ground up to push for transformative legislation that would provide real protections and a voice in the workplace. After a year-long fight, the NY HERO Act has now been signed into law — a tremendous victory for the health, safety, and dignity for all New Yorkers.
The NY HERO Act is a huge achievement in how workers will reclaim power in their workplace. This legislation will provide the tools needed to be protected from COVID-19 and future airborne infectious diseases. This transformative law includes:
– Permanent, enforceable health and safety standards to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other airborne infectious diseases in the workplace
– Groundbreaking Health and Safety committees in order to monitor, review and collaborate with employers on all workplace health and safety policies
– Strong standards that cover all private sector workers, including sectors often excluded in protections such as gig workers, day laborers, and independent contractors
– Private right of action both when their employer violates the standard and puts them at substantial risk of serious harm and if they are retaliated against
– The right to refuse to work if they feel they are unsafe and protections from retaliation when raising concerns
Swift and proper implementation will be key to a safe Covid recovery. We will now be working closely with the Department of Labor to ensure that the best protections are in place for workers.