WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today published a list of pro-worker demands amid the coronavirus pandemic and calls for taxpayer money to be used to help curb economic hardship. Brown’s requirements are simple: No corporate bailouts without putting workers first. This comes as recent reports show that the number of initial unemployment claims rose by 70,000 last week, to 281,000. This rise in initial claims is larger than any week-to-week movement that occurred during (or since) the 2008 financial crisis. Nearly 1 in 5 households has already experienced a layoff or a reduction in work hours, according to a new NPR/PBS News Hour/Marist poll.
Brown says if taxpayer money is going to be used to help assist corporations during this economic uncertainty, it needs to go to the people who make this country work. That means any financial assistance (including, but not limited to, grants, loans, lines of credit, fee waivers or reductions, and tax deferrals) provided to corporations must come with strict strings attached, preventing anti-worker practices and ensuring taxpayer investment makes it all the way down to front line workers – not just the C-suite.
“Over the course of just one week, workers have seen their hours cut or eliminated entirely. Congress must not repeat the mistakes of 2008 and 2009 – we cannot bail out corporations without making sure that aid ends up in the pockets of American workers,” said Brown. “My message is simple: No corporate bailouts without pro-worker strings attached.”
Brown released his list of demands in a Medium post – click here to read it.
Brown’s plan includes:
- Protections for workers in any bankruptcy proceedings;
- Prohibitions on any company receiving assistance provided in an economic stimulus package;
- And strings-attached pro-worker requirements for the companies that do receive assistance in a stimulus bill.
When combined with other worker-oriented safety nets, financial assistance to affected companies can be an important tool – but only if that money ends up in the pockets of workers. We learned from experience that corporations cannot be trusted to do that on their own. In response to September 11th and the Great Recession, Congress provided financial assistance to Wall Street financial institutions and corporations to shore up businesses. These legislative packages did not include sufficient worker protections and the results were realized: corporations recovered, have made record profits up until this pandemic, all while wage growth has largely remained flat for years, and even people with middle-class jobs still do not feel stable.
Congress must finally learn the lesson that corporations must be held accountable and workers put first. Read Brown’s full list of requirements HERE.