Durbin To McConnell: Stand By Workers First, Not Corporations

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today spoke about the importance of putting worker health and safety first as we deal with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a speech on the Senate floor, Durbin criticized Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) demand to give corporations legal immunity from COVID-19 related liability before considering another COVID-19 emergency aid bill for small businesses, state and local governments, and health care providers.  Durbin also urged the Trump Administration to provide clear, comprehensive, and enforceable federal standards, through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for workplace safety across the country so companies understand what steps need to be taken to protect their employees and customers and can meet those steps responsibly.

“[Senator] McConnell's red line threat would result in more people being infected by the coronavirus, more people getting sick. That's not what we want. There's a better way,” Durbin said. “Why hasn't OSHA established standards for the safety of workers?... To take the approach by Senator McConnell of saying we just are going to guarantee immunity against lawsuits is exactly the wrong thing to do. We need a standard of safety that businesses can be proud of, that workers can respect, and that customers can count on so that they can go into places, do their business, buy the products, and know that there is a standard of good health that's being established for everyone.”

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here. 

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.