The McConnell-Cornyn "liability protection" proposal is pretty radical. Not only would it block lawsuits over COVID exposure, it would make it just about impossible for OSHA to enforce basic workplace safety laws. They couldn't even dole out the tiny fines they've been doing.
I guess they need to make sure Smithfield doesn't get hit with another monster $13,494 fine after some workers die from coronavirus.
The proposal would also protect corporations from enforcement/lawsuits related to a host of other employment laws: FLSA (wage theft), WARN (notice ahead of layoffs), Civil Rights Act and ADA (discrimination)
To be clear, this stuff comes from the McConnell-Cornyn text from the summer that, far as we know, they are still standing by. Here is the relevant section:
If you're wondering what the hell wage theft has to do with the pandemic.... Workplaces have had to make a lot of changes (temperature checks, donning/doffing new equipment etc) and workers might not get paid for that time. That's how the FLSA ends up in here.
As you can see from the text, the bar to clear for immunity looks awfully low -- employers have to have been aware of govt guidelines (toothless CDC recommendations, basically) and making an effort. You could drive a truck sideways through the phrase "exploring options to comply"
Important context when it comes to workplace safety... There's a lot of pressure on Biden to quickly institute an emergency safety standard thru OSHA for COVID-19. If this language became law, it would it would make such a standard close to unenforceable.
Update: Senators released a bipartisan plan today that would shorten the length of the shield from ~5 yrs to ~2 yrs but the summary language tracks closely to what McConnell wants on OSHA and other federal laws. Manchin was only Dem on board with that.

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More from @jamieson

6 Oct
Many people don't realize this but OSHA has jurisdiction over the White House. Employees there could file complaints against Trump for endangering them with coronavirus. One former OSHA official tells me there's a strong case to be made he's violating the general duty clause. 1/x
This is the general duty clause -- OSHA has already used it to cite meatpacking plants for endangering workers in the pandemic. Sure looks like a strong case to me! 2/x
Former official says Trump may also be violating OSHA standards on personal protective equipment and respirators, and recklessly endangering White House employees in the process. 3/x
Read 7 tweets
8 Mar
The @MachinistsUnion members have endorsed @JoeBiden. This is the only international union I know of that had rank-and-file members vote for who to endorse. Ballots were cast this week. (Most endorsements come from an executive board.) Union hasn’t yet released the full results.
I think it’s very cool that the Machinists did an endorsement by member vote. Not sure why more don’t do it: your members can’t complain about the endorsement being done in a smoky back room! Actually, I know exactly why more don’t do it.
Here are the full results. Biden beat Bernie 36-26. And Trump got 34.
Read 5 tweets
30 Sep 19
So what's it like for low-wage women who need to pump breastmilk at work? We obtained nearly 400 federal investigations involving the "nursing mothers" law. The findings in these cases are sad and disturbing. I'm going to walk through them here. 1/X…
Federal law - if it covers you - guarantees reasonable time and a clean space to pump at work, thanks to Obamacare. We found employers all over the country had violated that law -- including household names like Walmart, Lowes, McDonald's, IHOP and the US Postal Service. 2/X
There's a lot of pressure on women to breastfeed for as long as they can. The reality is many bosses make it impossible. In so many cases, women said they gave up on breastfeeding because they couldn't get breaks or had to pump somewhere filthy. 3/X
Read 9 tweets

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