ONLINE: Workers' Rights During a Pandemic
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COVID-19 has forced many workers to choose between their health and their paycheck. At the height of the pandemic and throughout the re-opening process, we will all have to make risk assessments for ourselves, our families, our employers, and our employees. Undocumented workers are in an especially precarious position, weighing the risks of infection, arrest, and lost income while receiving little assistance. Other employees may soon be called back into offices, schools, restaurants, factories, and other workplaces, and lawmakers are pushing for liability protections for businesses that can’t or won’t protect their employees.
What are the rights of workers during the pandemic? And how has the epidemic exacerbated inequality between the haves and the have-nots? If employers can force employees back to work, who will be liable if employees contract the virus? Loyola Law School professor Jessica Levinson speaks with UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education chair Ken Jacobs, Pilipino Workers Center of Southern California founder and executive director Aquilina Soriano Versoza, and United Food and Commercial Workers International vice president Robin Williams about the legal and ethical challenges for workers and employers during this unprecedented time.