Open Letter to Local Leaders: With the spread of Coronavirus, now is the time to step up and protect workers

March 10, 2020 -- Heather Appel

Over 60 nonprofit organizations and counting have signed an open letter urging local officials to save lives and slow the spread of COVID-19 through immediate implementation of long-overdue workplace protections.


“We are organizations that work with and are led by working people, low income people. We had to to step up and demand that our local leaders use all their powers to protect low-wage workers in the midst of this potential pandemic,” said Lauren Jacobs, Executive Director of the Partnership for Working Families, which published the open letter. “Millions of Americans are employed by two types of companies: those who would sooner fire them than let them stay home when sick, and those who let workers in their supply and service chains starve without paid leave should they be unable to work. That has to change.” 

The letter includes the following demands:

  • Public and private sector employees who have contact with the public - at airports, schools, hospitals, public transit systems, and elsewhere - have access to training and equipment to keep themselves safe.

  • All workers should  be guaranteed their average income for the period in which they are unable to work 

  • All workers need to  be protected from termination for taking sick time to care for themselves or their families

  • Vaccines, when available, be provided free of charge. Charges related to testing should be free.

  • All emergency efforts are communicated in multiple languages 

  • Cities defend their sanctuary status and refuse to allow ICE and Border Patrol officers into hospitals and public buildings

  • Local elected leaders call on the federal government to suspend ICE raids so that vulnerable patients won’t be deterred from seeking help   

The letter also calls on state legislators to require employers to provide paid sick days, and the federal government to provide aid to cover the additional expenses states, cities and counties will incur during this crisis. 

Download the full letter