McConnell’s Corporate Immunity Proposal to Be Previewed Next Week

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 drosen@citizen.org.

SENATE REPUBLICANS TO GET PREVIEW OF CORPORATE IMMUNITY PROPOSAL: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is planning to start briefing his caucus next week on the GOP’s coronavirus response proposal. The proposal is expected to include a measure giving immunity from coronavirus-related lawsuits to businesses whose failure to take reasonable precautions harms workers or consumers. It may even extend to immunizing businesses from liability for price-gouging and selling fraudulent coronavirus treatments. The proposed immunity will reportedly be retroactive to December 2019 and extend through December 2024. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has said that the U.S. House will oppose any such measure.

CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST MEAT GIANTS: Worker advocacy groups filed a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture against meat giants Tyson Foods and JBS. The complaint alleges that the companies’ failure to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance at their processing facilities – social distancing on meat processing lines and the use of personal protective equipment – had a discriminatory impact on the predominantly Black, Latino and Asian workforce. These workers make up about 70% of the processing line workers in meatpacking plants. A CDC report earlier this month found that 87% of workers infected by the virus at poultry, pork and beef processing plants were people of color; at least 86 workers had died. These workers would be disproportionately harmed by giving businesses immunity from liability.