Published: 5/3/2020 12:01:09 AM
I have written as follows to our congressional delegation. I urge everyone to call, write, email, text or tweet to them and to anyone else who might put some pressure on the administration to change course on this:
I am writing because I am appalled by the president ordering meat-packing plants to stay open. To my understanding, no additional protection is going to be required by OSHA to protect the workers who must work shoulder to shoulder with little ability to practice the kind of hygiene needed to prevent their becoming infected with COVID-19.
Not only does this mean that they will risk serious illness and possibly death, they will be a source of ongoing contagion to others, especially in the poorer black and brown communities that are already the hardest hit by this pandemic.
And if they refuse work when it is available, they will be deemed ineligible for unemployment benefits.
This is simply outrageous. Please do whatever you can to persuade the administration to reverse this foolish order. Failing that, please ask your colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support emergency legislation that will give these workers adequate protection and the option to stay out from any risky work that is offered and still qualify for unemployment benefits.
This also should apply to other workers in the food chain who are nearly as important as frontline health care personnel to our survival in this crisis.
Dr. J.J. SMITH