As we roll into 2021 we hope this finds you safe and well. Congratulations on surviving the never-ending series of unprecedented events that was the 2020 year. Of all the tragedies that unfolded, what workers endured rarely makes the headlines. That is truly a disappointment as if it was not for the frontline essential workers lacing up their boots and scrubs the United States would have ground to a standstill by April Fool’s Day. Corporations have done considerable bragging about how much they value their workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the reality is most of those companies spent more on their ‘Worker Appreciation’ PR campaigns than they did on actually rewarding them for a job well done.
So how were workers screwed in 2020? Oh let us count the ways…
#1 – The Stimulus Bills Did NOTHING For Essential Workers
Over 4 TRILLION DOLLARS has been authorized in the stimulus bills this year. (Add $900 Billion to this – Stimulus Costs 2020) From that unimaginable number a grand total of ZERO DOLLARS has been allocated to reward frontline essential workers. The HEROES Act, which was introduced in the House of Representatives, attempted to address this with initially setting $25,000 to compensate workers for the sacrifices that were being made. That number did not reach a vote, however, as one of the initial compromises was whittling that amount down to $10,000. While less, that is certainly better than nothing and essential workers were hopeful that it would soon become a reality after the Act passed the House in May. Sadly the bill has been languishing on Mitch McConnell’s desk, as he never brought this piece of legislation before the Senate for a vote. The real kicker being that when the Senate finally did introduce their own stimulus Act, not one penny was allotted for workers. Instead the HEALS Act was more focused on limiting liability for corporations who are derelict in adequately protecting their employees. (If you want to read more about that nefarious piece of corporate soul selling check out this article- The SAFE TO WORK Act)
#2 – The National Labor Relations Board Has Been Useless
NLRB rulings made regarding coronavirus work issues have been a torrential onslaught of anti-worker decisions. The Board has ruled time and again siding with corporations about protected concerted activity, bargaining items and COVID-19 related relevant data requests. During a once in a century pandemic, the Board has made it quite clear that their focus is on making sure the trains run on time, regardless of whether or not the workers laying the tracks are being placed in harm’s way or having their rights violated.
#3 – The Paycheck Protection Program is a Joke for Workers
PPP was supposed to be a safety net for workers that rewarded companies for keeping their employees on payroll. It has instead turned into a monetary blackhole that appears to be nothing more than a slush fund for corporations across the country. The Center for Public Integrity recently reported that (Read the Full Article Here) companies have taken over $1.8 BILLION DOLLARS out of the program while still firing over 90,000 workers. To add insult to injury, Congress has amended the CARES Act to lower the amount required of companies to be put towards employee wages.
#4 – Companies are Going Bankrupt and Still Giving CEOs Bonuses
There is no question that businesses are hurting because of COVID-19. Many small companies have not been able to weather the storm, and sadly have gone under. For the larger corporations, however, that does not mean their ultra-wealthy CEOs are going without. Even while filing for bankruptcy, and claiming they need the legal protection that provides, dozens of mega-corporations have still given their top executive multi-million dollar bonuses while firing their workers, canceling their pensions and leaving them high and dry with no medical benefits during a pandemic. (For a detailed list of who these wretches are – Click This Link)
WORKERS DESERVE BETTER
It is not enough to run a commercial saying how much your value your workers, or put a sign in the door that says “Heroes Work Here”. If it were not for the hard work, dedication and unbridled patriotism of American workers the United States would not have made it through 2020. It was only through the sacrifices of those men and women that we are now looking hopefully towards 2021. They deserve more than a ‘Thank You’. They deserve to be properly compensated for the risks their essential jobs required.