Advocating to Expand the Safety Net

March 23, 2020

The Coronavirus has exposed the lack of basic protections that American workers are force to live with. Additionally, communities that already face marginalization – low-wage, contract, and immigrant workers – are being the hardest hit by the virus and its economic impacts. Workers in hotels, food service, construction, and other industries are facing infectious disease exposure, closed worksites, a lack of badly needed benefits, and wages well below the hazard pay they should be receiving for keeping our communities operating during a pandemic. MassCOSH staff are working with our labor and community partners on policies that ensure these workers have a safety net during this crisis and beyond. 
On March 20, the Emergency Task Force on Coronavirus and Equity, on which MassCOSH participates, released a set of policy recommendations to the Governor and Legislature which can be found here: These include:

  • Ensuring immigrants have safe access to testing & treatment
  • Ensuring everyone has access to safe quarantine
  • Passing emergency paid sick time
  • Enacting a moratorium on evictions, foreclosures, and termination of public benefits 
  • To take action on these policy recommendations follow this link for an action alert and talking points:

Of course, these are just some of the changes we will need to protect all workers in Massachusetts. We will also need to make sure all workers, and especially our healthcare workers, have the training and personal protective equipment (PPE) they need to stay safe and healthy. We need to make sure financial resources are available to immigrant families facing food insecurity, housing instability, unpaid sick leave, layoffs, and reduced hours and wages. We need to ensure that multilingual information on prevention, testing, and quarantine guidelines, and benefits available to laid-off workers is widely available. MassCOSH staff will continue to work with its allies in the upcoming weeks to do our best to advocate for young, immigrant and low wage workers. Please check our website and Facebook page regularly to learn how you can help.