The American Board of Physician Specialties, the American Association of Physician Specialists, the Acadamy of Disaster Medicine, along with the High Alert Institute on April 28 called for An Essential Workers Bill of Rights.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented pressures to bear upon the essential emergency support functions of our country – revealing serious gaps that need to be addressed,” stated Jeffery Morris JD, Executive Director, ABPS.
“These essential emergency support functions facilitate the activities of our daily lives even under stay-at-home orders and quarantines. It is imperative to the care of our citizens that all Essential Workers, First Responders, Healthcare Workers and their Families be protected and supported at work and at home.”
All of the above organizations support the inclusion of Emergency Management Professionals; First Responders including 911 Operators; Dispatchers; Firefighters; Law Enforcement; Nurses, Therapists, Physicians, Dental Professionals, Allied Providers and Healthcare Workers across a broad spectrum of professions.
An Essential Workers Bill of Rights must include the following:
1) Mandatory health and safety protections
2) Robust premium compensation
3) Protections for collective bargaining agreements
4) Truly universal paid sick, family and medical leave
5) Protections for whistleblowers
6) An end to worker misclassification
7) Healthcare security
8) Support for childcare
9) Treat workers as experts
10) Hold corporations accountable for meeting their responsibilities
The same considerations that are enumerated in the Essential Workers Bill of Rights should be given to the broader spectrum of essential workers, inclusive of those in food services, farming, sanitation, transportation, trucking, utilities, and communications, these groups said.
These groups " firmly believe that the early learnings of the COVID-19 pandemic have shown those working in emergency management the numerous cracks within our healthcare system. These will need to be addressed and resolved over the next few years. The most important being the need to properly protect the safety, security, dignity and autonomy of our country’s essential workers."