Editor, Casa Grande Dispatch:
A letter and story in Tuesday’s Dispatch caught my attention. One titled “LD11 reps are abusing power” called out state legislators for political overreaching while not taking care of real problems in their own communities. The second was “Lawmakers want to make it tougher for workers to sue over COVID-19." While they may seem to be taking up separate issues, they’re actually very closely related.
The single point is that Arizona’s GOP legislative majority is failing the common, everyday, clock-punching, lunch-bag-toting worker. Hey, of course businesses have been hurt terribly by the virus shutdown — our country is lawsuit crazy — you’ll get no argument from me on either. Yet, the Legislature is focusing all its attention on businesses while ignoring the hardships and health risks of workers.
If businesses get protected from lawsuits, shouldn’t workers be guaranteed they’re returning to a safe and healthy, pre-inspected environment? If workers can’t sue for negligence, shouldn’t there at least be a whistleblower mechanism in place when the employers fail to meet sanitizing safety standards? If the state’s going to protect owners, why won’t they protect workers by mandating pre-return COVID testing and additional followup testing at regular intervals — paid for by the state?
Everyone has been impacted by COVID-19 infection and/or the economic shutdown. Every segment of our community has suffered — some much more than others. But if, as our political leaders frequently say, “We’re all in this together," then we need to come out of this all together. We need to help business owners, employees and customers get through this all together. We need elected representatives who understand what “all together” really means!