Workers & Labor Leaders Call on L.A. County Board of Supervisors to Support Anti-Retaliation Ordinance Tomorrow
Workers and labor leaders are calling on Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to pass the anti-retaliation ordinance up for a vote tomorrow.
The ordinance and vote comes after a motion was passed last week establishing a program allowing workers to establish public health councils in the workplace in an effort to expand the capacity of the Department of Public Health and enforce public health orders.
Labor organizations have stressed the need for worker protections with numerous allegations from workers claiming to have experienced backlash after speaking up against public health violations and safety concerns.
“Our frontline workers should never have to choose between putting food on the table and their own lives,” said Ron Herrera, President of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. “We know all too well the crippling effects that fear of retaliation can have on a worker. If we truly believe they are the heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic, let’s ensure they receive the protections they need to stop the possibility of new outbreaks.”
“I have seen that when workers speak up, they can face retaliation,” said Jonatan C., former worker at Genwa Korean BBQ in Beverly Hills. “During the pandemic it’s even more important to protect workers who speak up about problems on the job. It’s important that this motion passes.”
“It’s important to feel protected and not feel any fear when we speak out about what is happening in our garment factories, said Isabel Yerba, garment worker. “We should all be able to feel safe”
“Hotel workers are on the front lines of this pandemic and ensuring they have an opportunity to voice their concerns without fear of retaliation is in the best interest of public safety and trying to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Kurt Petersen Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11, the hospitality workers union representing over 30,000 workers in Southern California and Arizona.
The motion allowing workers to join public health councils was unanimously approved on Tuesday, Nov. 10, expanding the capacity of the L.A. County Public Health Department to monitor adherence to public health orders and report violations. Initial implementation includes four sectors: food manufacturing; restaurants; garment manufacturing; and warehouse. Third party organizations will assist workers in their roles in public health councils.
Los Angeles County continues to see a dramatic spike in confirmed cases and deaths due to COVID-19 with 364,520, 1,40 hospitalizations, and 7,438 as of Sunday, Nov. 22.