DPCC Report: Actions Speak Louder than Words – Essential Workers Deserve More than a Thank You

June 10, 2020

In Second Cost of Republican Inaction Report, Senate Democrats Continue Call for Premium Pay and Workplace Safety Protections for Our Essential Frontline Workers

WASHINGTON – Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (MI), Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (NY), and Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Committee Vice Chair Joe Manchin (WV) today released a report about essential workers—over 41 percent of whom are people of color—during the COVID-19 crisis. The report can be found here. 

“Over 30 million Americans are working during the COVID-19 pandemic as doctors, nurses, bus drivers, mail carriers, caregivers and more. These essential workers – who are disproportionately women and people of color – are putting their own health at risk in order to keep us safe and meet our basic needs during this crisis. They deserve hazard pay and the guarantee of safety equipment and work standards necessary to keep them and their families safe,” said Senator Stabenow. 

“As the COVID crisis continues to affect communities across the country, we remain committed to ensuring health care workers, bus drivers, grocery store employees, trash collectors, delivery workers and many more who are serving in essential jobs are protected and compensated,” said Senator Schumer. “Even before the pandemic, those working in these fields were consistently underpaid and overworked and more than 40% of these workers are people of color. With recent weeks showing just how closely related COVID and racial justice are, Senate Democrats are calling on Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans to finally pass the HEROES Act, so we can begin to take real action to address the inequities that this crisis has highlighted and to protect those on the frontlines of fighting the pandemic.” 

“Essential workers continue to risk their lives to stock the shelves with food, care for those affected by COVID-19, and provide medical supplies to those on the front lines of this healthcare crisis. They deserve to be treated with the utmost respect and given the support they need during these difficult times. I call on my colleagues to support our essential workers across America who have bravely supported us,” said Senator Manchin.

The new report outlines solutions from Democrats to reward essential workers for their critical work. A COVID-19 Heroes Fund would provide a $10,000 Heroes Pay increase for essential frontline workers. The Pandemic Heroes Compensation Act and the Pandemic Responder Service Award Act would also create a new fund to provide compensation for injuries and give health care workers an annual award of up to 100 percent of the cost of in-state tuition at a public university. 

Additionally, Senate Democrats are working to keep workers safe while on the job, which includes the COVID-19 Every Worker Protection Act. This bill would direct the Department of Labor to fulfill its basic duty to protect workers by issuing an Emergency Temporary Standard within 7 days of enactment to protect health care and other employees from exposure to COVID-19.