Statement from Massachusetts AFL-CIO President Steven Tolman on COVID-19

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the entire world are facing uncertain times with the fast spread of COVID-19. The Massachusetts AFL-CIO and the Labor Movement as a whole have a proud history of stepping up and leading on issues surrounding workplace standards to keep hard working men and women safe on the job as well as community standards to keep their families safe at home. In the face of the widespread transmission of COVID-19 it is crucial that our frontline workers have personal protection equipment and up to date training techniques to keep them safe and healthy while they are working around the clock to protect the public. It is also crucial that we expand our economic safety nets for our entire workforce, particularly the most vulnerable workers amongst us who may not have access to sufficient paid sick time. It cannot be stated clearly enough, NO PERSON SHOULD HAVE TO CHOOSE BETWEEN PAYING THEIR BILLS AND PUTTING THE PUBLIC AT RISK. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts must expand paid sick time for workers who are sick, in self-quarantine, or must tend to a sick family member.

Our members are the most highly trained and skilled workforce available and we are in the fight to contain this pandemic and protect the public’s health but we need to make sure that they have the proper tools at their disposal so that no worker is left vulnerable. During times of uncertainty we must put our differences aside and come together as labor, elected officials, community leaders, faith leaders, health experts, and businesses to do what is best for the public good. We will continue to monitor this fluid situation and will continue to push for protections for workers on the job and in their communities.