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Our community needs answers. Why are the County Judge and County Commissioners waiving wage and safety standards they currently require through Travis County policy for Tesla, a company who was placed on the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health’s dirty dozen list in 2018?
The Austin AFL-CIO Central Labor Council, since its founding in 1957, has been committed to the principle of multiracial solidarity, advocating for social and economic justice to vanquish oppression and make our communities better for all people

The United States now has more than a million reported coronavirus cases, by far the most of any country in the world. The health of our nation, physically and economically, depends on the safety of our workers. That has always been true, but perhaps never more so than in the face of today’s crisis — and it’s why we need clear and decisive action from the White House. President Trump has given us more confusion than solutions, failing to use his executive authority to protect working people.

As Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO, wrote in a public letter to the U.S.

“For all workers, the toll of COVID-19 infections and deaths is mounting and will increase even more rapidly as workers return to work without necessary safety and health protections,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka wrote in the letter, which listed dozens of members who have died from the virus. He faulted the agency for not doing more inspections, not issuing citations and releasing only voluntary coronavirus safety guidelines. “Without government oversight and enforcement, too many employers are disregarding safety and health standards,” he wrote.

The national union that represents workers in meatpacking and food processing jobs, the United Food and Commercial Workers, says the administration should enact enforceable standards instead of guidance that requires protections like protective equipment, physical distancing, daily testing for workers and paid sick leave so workers can stop the spread of illness. And Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, echoed their concerns tweeting, "Using executive power to force people back on the job without proper protections is wrong and dangerous."

The AFL-CIO warned Tuesday that workplaces were still far too dangerous to consider reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic, even as some governors are starting to lift restrictions in order to get businesses up and running again. Richard Trumka, the federation’s president, said there was still insufficient personal protective equipment and not enough testing to make worksites safe yet. He called for stronger legal protections for those who will have to refuse dangerous work as their employers begin to call them back.

This has been a month like no other in modern American history. We are in a war against an invisible virus that has required most people to stay home to fight it. With each day of the coronavirus pandemic, Americans have grown increasingly grateful for things we used to take for granted, like grocery workers, without whom we could not meet our most basic needs. Parents have a new appreciation for how complex and demanding teaching is, and for how teachers are helping their children continue learning, stay engaged and stay safe inside during this uneasy time.

"Once again the CDC is putting profits over people with its latest recommendations that downgrade worker protections at a time when they are needed most," said Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO.

Much of the American workplace has shut down, sending millions of employees home to wait out the coronavirus pandemic.