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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
RESTAURANT EXECS ASK TRUMP FOR IMMUNITY: Restaurant executives meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House on Monday asked the president for more corporate giveaways. CEOs from both Restaurant Brands International (around 1:50 in the meeting video) and Panera Bread (around 28:30) asked for immunity from coronavirus-related lawsuits. The CEO of Restaurant Brands International – which owns Burger King, Popeyes and Tim Hortons – asked for immunity for “small” businesses. That’s pretty rich coming from a company with nearly $5.4 billion in annual revenue and more than 6,000 employees.
ACCOUNTABILITY FOR MEAT PROCESSING PLANTS: On Friday, 29 Democratic senators, led by the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue demanding that the agency protect workers in these plants. In the letter, senators urged the USDA to create local working groups to make procedures for safely reopening meat processing plants. Lawmakers also called on Trump to use the Defense Production Act to order the production of personal protective equipment and testing kits for these facilities.
… VERSUS IMMUNITY: Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) introduced a bill that would immunize meat processing facilities from liability for harm arising from exposure to, or infection by, the coronavirus. The bill would shield meat processing facilities from lawsuits except those caused by criminal or reckless misconduct, gross negligence or “conscious flagrant indifference” to worker safety.