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. Also refer to our tipsheet on misleading claims from industry groups and conservative lawmakers. Please send tips, feedback and questions to David Rosen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
POLL SHOWS A MAJORITY OF LIKELY VOTERS OPPOSE CORPORATE IMMUNITY: A new CNBC/Change Research poll found that 58% of likely voters oppose giving corporations immunity from lawsuits related to the coronavirus, while just 32% support the measure. What’s more, 39% of respondents oppose corporate immunity strongly. The poll surveyed 2,565 likely voters from Friday through Sunday in six key battleground states: Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.9%.
PELOSI REACTS TO MCCONNELL’S INTRANSIGENCE: Reacting to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) statement that he’s not willing to negotiate on corporate immunity, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters, “It seems to me that Senator McConnell really doesn’t want to get an agreement.”
CORPORATE IMMUNITY IS A LICENSE TO DISCRIMINATE: McConnell’s corporate immunity proposal would “strip workers of the power to enforce a wide range of labor and employment protections, including protections under anti-discrimination law and the Fair Labor Standards Act, which sets the federal minimum wage,” Sejal Singh and Liz Watson with the Progressive Caucus Action Fund warned in Slate. “Corporations would be immune from lawsuits arising under these critical civil rights protections as long as the lawsuit relates to COVID-19 (with a narrow exception for intentional discrimination). That could mean that a college student whose school won’t accommodate her disability during online learning wouldn’t be able to sue under the Americans With Disabilities Act, or that a pregnant worker couldn’t hold her employer accountable for a reopening plan that didn’t accommodate her pregnancy.”
HARVARD LAW STUDENTS CALL ON UNIVERSITY TO OPPOSE CORPORATE IMMUNITY: Corporate immunity “would let schools reopen without critical safety measures in place, putting students, campus workers and the broader community at risk,” Nicole Rubin and Sarah Tansey, two Harvard Law School students, wrote. “Previous attempts to grant corporate immunity highlight the risks. Utah, for example, passed similar state-level legislation in May. The very next day, a local paper reported that one Salt Lake City employer told employees not to follow public health guidance and required even those who tested positive for COVID-19 to report to work. Nearly half of the workers later tested positive. If universities are granted immunity, they run the risk of becoming the next hot-spots and driving local outbreaks beyond campus.”