FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Friday, March 20, 2020
Public Interest Groups Urge Congress to Benefit Workers,
Not Just Corporations, in Coronavirus Bailout
(Washington, D.C.) Today, more than twenty public interest groups urged Congress to put the needs of the American people over the profits of corporations in determining a financial bailout package to stem the coronavirus pandemic engulfing the nation and threatening economic collapse. The advocates advanced the policy recommendations of Senators Sherrod Brown and Elizabeth Warren to both protect workers and prevent corporate abuse of taxpayer money. Their chief policy priority is to ensure that all workers get fully covered, paid sick leave.
“The coronavirus outbreak is a threat to our families, our communities, and our economy. Congress has a responsibility to deliver quick, permanent relief to millions of Americans and put workers first in our response to this crisis,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren. “Any cent of taxpayer money that goes to giant corporations must come with real strings attached to ensure the money is truly going to support the workforce -- no more stock buybacks, a $15 minimum wage, worker representatives on corporate boards, and more.”
In 2008 - the last time there was a major economic crisis in this country - Congress rushed to bail out big companies and entire industries to keep them solvent. Big Wall Street banks, in spite of their role in causing the collapse, were rescued and almost immediately were handing out millions in bonuses to their CEOs. When the auto industry was rescued, a loophole in the law allowed vulture capitalists like Paul Singer’s Elliot Management to score multi-billion dollar payouts on the backs of workers from companies like Delphi Automotive.
“Vulture capitalists like Paul Singer must not be allowed to prey on American taxpayers ever again, particularly in the time of a global pandemic,” stated American Family Voices Executive Director Lauren Windsor. “Congress must put our communities first, not corporate profits.”
Policies advocated by the senators include providing protections for workers in any bankruptcy proceeding; prohibiting any company receiving bailout funds from doing stock buybacks, outsourcing, engaging in anti-worker campaigns, or giving excessive compensation and golden parachutes to company executives; and imposing several worker friendly requirements for 10 years on any company receiving bailout assistance.
President of Color Of Change Rashad Robinson said:
“The Trump death toll is rising every day because of this administration’s weak, incompetent response. A corrupt response from Congress focused on corporate giveaways will just make things far worse for the American public and Black communities in particular. Every person in this country must have the freedom to protect themselves and others, which means Congress must listen to medical experts who know what we need, and not corporate executives who want to profit from our pain. Congress must end the corporate whining. Corporate non-compliance is turning this health crisis into a national tragedy destroying millions of people’s lives. They must stop denying the health care and sick time people need to survive.”
Signing organizations include:
American Family Voices
Brave New Films
Campaign for America’s Future
Center for Popular Democracy
Color Of Change
Democracy for America
Herd on the Hill
Jewish Labor Committee
Mi Familia Vota
National Equity Action Team
Progressive Democrats of America
Social Security Works
True North Research
You can read the full text of the letter here.