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Teachers Lead the Fight for School Safety


Welcome to the latest edition of “Corporate Accountability, Not Immunity,” a 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. See our past tipsheets here. The tipsheet will go out on Mondays and Thursdays through mid-September. Please send tips, feedback and questions to David Rosen at drosen@citizen.org.

SENATE REPUBLICANS PROPOSE “SKINNY BILL” THAT STILL INCLUDES CORPORATE IMMUNITY: U.S. Senate Republicans are proposing a scaled-back version of their coronavirus response package. It is expected to include $300 in weekly federal unemployment benefits through Dec. 27, additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, an additional $10 billion for the U.S. Postal Service as well as money for education and testing. Like the July bill, however, this bill contains the same corporate immunity provisions that would bar people from holding companies accountable when they cause harm to customers or employees.

TEACHERS LEAD THE FIGHT FOR SCHOOL SAFETY: On Wednesday, the Detroit Federation of Teachers voted to authorize their executive committee to call for a strike over plans to open public schools for in-person learning. “It’s just simply not safe for us to return into our buildings and classrooms right now,” the union said in a video statement, noting the more than 1,400 virus-related deaths in the community. And New York City’s teachers’ union sought to ramp up pressure on the mayor to delay or call off his plan to reopen the city’s 1,800 schools on Sept. 10. The president of the United Federation of Teachers threatened to sue or support a strike if the city could not satisfy a list of safety demands – and called for all students and staff members to be tested before school starts. One professor at Yale University even warned students in an email: “It does trouble me that many colleges out there are doing the absolute minimum, banking on the planets to align and hoping against hope that everything that could go wrong will go right. I don’t think that’s any way to treat our kids, or the staff, the custodians, the dining hall workers, the person who works at the Starbucks on Chapel Street – there’s a much broader community of people who could potentially be harmed if something were to go awry.” Shielding schools from coronavirus-related lawsuits would remove a powerful incentive for them to take reasonable steps to protect people’s health and safety.