Professional Sports Players Associations Oppose Corporate Immunity

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.

PRO SPORTS PLAYERS ASSOCIATIONS OPPOSE CORPORATE IMMUNITY: The players associations of the major U.S. professional sports leagues are opposed to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) corporate immunity proposal. The executive directors of the NFL, NBA, NHL Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer players associations sent a joint letter to congressional leaders raising concerns about giving corporations immunity from coronavirus-related lawsuits. “The introduced language by Senate Republicans, as we understand it, would federalize all COVID-19 work claims and provide employers with an immunity that is so broad that not even egregious behavior would be actionable,” the letter states.

KATIE PORTER’S TWEET OPPOSING CORPORATE IMMUNITY GOES BIG: A Monday afternoon tweet from U.S. Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) opposing corporate immunity went big, garnering more than 28,000 retweets and more than 33,000 likes. “The Senate wants to give corporations legal immunity if their workers get COVID-19. Translation: no consequences if a company doesn’t provide protective equipment or enforce physical distancing. This is a green light for corporate abuse,” the tweet read.

GOP REVERSES ITS POSITION ON THE COMMERCE CLAUSE WITH CORPORATE IMMUNITY PROPOSAL: Amy Dru Stanley, history professor at the University of Chicago, wrote in the Washington Post that McConnell’s corporate immunity proposal makes a mockery of the Republican Party’s opposition to expansive congressional power. “What is the source of constitutional power invoked for such a sweeping pandemic-inspired expansion of federal authority? Nothing other than what has long been the bogeyman of Republican lawmakers: the commerce clause, which empowers Congress ‘to regulate commerce … among the several states.’ It is ironic, if not astonishing, for Republicans to take this position. For nearly a century, the commerce power of Congress has formed the basis for federal protection of individual rights, from New Deal-era entitlements to form unions and be paid a minimum wage to civil rights-era prohibitions against segregation and workplace discrimination. All along, Republicans have opposed this use – misuse, in their view – of congressional power under the commerce clause, up to the dispute over the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.”