In reaction to Senate consideration of corporate immunity as part of the next stimulus package, Abby Maxman, President and CEO of Oxfam America made the following comments:

By Oxfam

“Lawmakers returning to Washington, DC face a stark a choice —whether to protect essential workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic or shield giant corporations from any pandemic-related liability. They must side with our essential workers.

“While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made protecting corporations his top priority for any additional relief package passed by Congress—more than extending unemployment aid, helping small businesses, or providing assistance to schools in order to open safely this fall – other Senators must not follow suit.

“Making companies immune from any COVID-related lawsuits brought by workers or consumers would remove any possibility of legal recourse, making the ‘essential’ worker expendable. Front-line workers are risking their lives every day to provide our food, keep us safe, and treat us when we are sick, and they must be protected.

“Corporations that prioritize profits over people are now spending millions of dollars to perpetuate the myth that they are victims, even as many are making extraordinary profits from because of the pandemic on the backs of essential workers. The bar for workers to sue the companies they work for is already high. There is absolutely no evidence that a wave of frivolous lawsuits is coming. Removing this final bulwark for worker protection is the last thing Congress should do.

“Americans of all political stripes are opposed to granting corporations legal immunity, recognizing that left to their own devices, companies will not act responsibly to protect their workers. Congress must also come to this realization and act to protect our essential workers.”

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