How and Why to Empower Workers in the COVID-19 Response

April 24, 2020

From the lack of paid sick leave to a shortage of hospital beds, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed glaring problems in our social infrastructure. Those who remain on the job in essential industries risk exposure, and therefore their lives, every day. The threat posed to working people today is both an immediate crisis and also a warning of things to come: As the economy reopens, more and more of us will need to return to work outside of our homes and face the health risk faced by essential workers today.

In “How and Why to Empower Workers in the COVID-19 Response,” Sharon Block, Suzanne Kahn, Brishen Rogers, and Benjamin I. Sachs propose structural reforms to give workers a formal role in the shaping of workplace safety and health protocols, ensuring that the workforce can remain healthy and secure both in the immediate crisis and in the economic recession that will almost certainly outlast it.