he U.S. Department of Labor is giving employers workplace safety suggestions, rather than clear regulations and rules for their enforcement. Some states have tried to fill the vacuum. Meanwhile, workers themselves, supported by unions and advocacy organizations like the National COSH (Council for Occupational Safety and Health), are demanding safer workplaces in this new pandemic environment. Here are some of their stories.
Farmworkers in Oregon
“I tried to get my employer to follow social distancing, clean the bathrooms, and sanitize. . . . I was also worried because the employer did not have a mask for sick people. But when I spoke up, they just ignored me and then they got mad at me for making problems. Now I am worried that I might be one of the first ones laid off. I need this job for my family.” (A farmworker’s statement to Oregon OSHA in support of new COVID-19 regulations, April 3, 2020.)