Groups Representing Small Businesses, Seniors Urge Federal Lawmakers to Not Put Corporate Profits Above Individual Rights

CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY, NOT IMMUNITY

Welcome to the latest edition of “Corporate Accountability, Not Immunity,” a daily tipsheet highlighting key news and important facts on why Congress should not give corporations legal immunity from coronavirus-related harms to workers, consumers, patients and the public. Please send tips, feedback and questions to David Rosen at drosen@citizen.org.

SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS OPPOSE IMMUNITY: Main Street Alliance, which represents a network of 30,000 small business owners nationwide, has urged congressional leadership to oppose immunity from legal liability. “Corporate immunity is unnecessary to protect small business owners, as state law already protects responsible business owners who act reasonably,” the organization wrote. “Moreover, creating this type of blanket immunity from lawsuits by injured workers or consumers would give bad actors a competitive edge at the cost of people’s lives, adding to the harm that responsible Main Street businesses are already suffering. This would create a race-to-the-bottom dynamic that creates unfair competition for businesses concerned about reopening before it is safe to do so.”

AARP OPPOSES IMMUNITY FOR NURSING HOMES: The AARP on behalf of its 38 million members, sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee urging it to reject proposals to make nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other long-term care facilities immune from liability. “While some circumstances may be beyond the facilities’ control, it is essential that long-term care providers, as well as health care providers more broadly, remain responsible for any negligent actions that fail to protect the health and lives of residents,” the organization said. According to The New York Times, more than one third of all COVID-19-related deaths are long-term care facility residents or workers.

AFL-CIO SUES TO GET A WORKPLACE SAFETY STANDARD: The AFL-CIO filed a petition on Monday asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to compel the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue an emergency temporary standard to protect workers from the novel coronavirus. The court ordered OSHA to reply to the AFL-CIO’s filing by May 29 and gave the union until June 2 to file a response. Issuing specific, enforceable, science-based standards is the way to alleviate potential lawsuits, to protect workers, consumers and patients, and to get our economy running again.