Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Caregivers and nurses from Keck Hospital of USC and USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center protest changes to their sick leave benefits in Los Angeles on Feb. 11, 2020.

Caregivers and nurses from Keck Hospital of USC and USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center protest changes to their sick leave benefits in Los Angeles on Feb. 11, 2020. (Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

Warren and Khanna's "Essential Workers Bill of Rights" Cheered as Much-Needed Protections for Those on Frontlines of Crisis

"If we can find the resources to bail out the cruise and airline industries and other big corporations, we can support the people who risk their lives every day to care for the ill, stock store shelves, and care for children."

Andrea Germanos

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Ro Khanna's proposal unveiled Monday for an "Essential Workers Bill of Rights" is being cheered by leading progressive organizations who are demanding the next coronavirus relief package take care of those on the frontlines of the pandemic.

"It should be simple: the frontline workers who are risking their lives to keep Americans healthy and safe deserve to be protected as well. That's what the Essential Workers Bill of Rights Act would ensure," said Angel Padilla, national policy director of the Indivisible Project.

"But as we saw with first responders who risked their lives on 9/11, it took Congress a full decade before it provided them with the healthcare they desperately needed," Padilla continued. "Congress shouldn't make the same mistake twice."

The new proposal for the group including healthcare workers, food service workers, domestic workers, janitorial staff, and farm workers comes as the U.S. remains the epicenter of the pandemic, with over 568,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 21,000 deaths. President Donald Trump is under fire for his handling of the outbreak as his administration continues to threaten the safety of workers and public health of all Americans with its focus on "re-opening the economy."

"This crisis needs to open our eyes to the value of workers who are often invisible," said Khanna, "and we need to give them the pay and benefits they deserve."

Indivisible—along with other groups rallying behind the new proposal including the American Federation of Teachers, MoveOn, and the National Domestic Workers Alliance—says the three legislative packages addressing the coronavirus crisis passed thus far have fallen far short on worker protections. Instead of making this essential group sacrificial lambs, federal lawmakers must ensure they have the protections they need.

And those protections stretch far beyond making sure the workers have PPE to include a broad range of progressive policies.

On social media, Warren and Khanna shared the policies included in their "bill of rights":

"The next relief package must put all workers front and center—but it must also specifically include the policies in our Essential Workers Bill of Rights," said Warren.

According to Maurice Mitchell, national director of the Working Families Party, it's time for lawmakers to pass economic relief legislation that puts people, not big business, first.

"If we can find the resources to bail out the cruise and airline industries and other big corporations, we can support the people who risk their lives every day to care for the ill, stock store shelves, and care for children," said Mitchell.

"Congress has a moral responsibility to pass the Workers Bill of Rights to ensure these workers have what they need to protect themselves and their families while they protect us all during this pandemic," he said.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Congress Must Act': Bernie Sanders Demands End of Filibuster to Codify Abortion Rights

"We must pass legislation that codifies Roe v. Wade as the law of the land in this country. And if there aren't 60 votes to do it, and there are not, we must reform the filibuster to pass it with 50 votes."

Jon Queally ·


Human Rights Defenders Warn Biden Border Policy 'Quickly Transforming Into Trump 2.0'

Like his predecessor, President Joe Biden now being accused of "using racist, xenophobic tropes about immigrants to weaponize Covid-19 against migrants and asylum-seekers."

Jon Queally ·


'Bombshell': Israeli Spyware Used to Hack iPhones of US State Department Officials

Calling the Israel-based spyware maker NSO Group an "in-plain-sight national security threat," one expert warned that "a multi-agency investigation is immediately needed."

Jessica Corbett ·


US Progressive Caucus Hails Honduran Election as Chance for 'New Chapter' in Relations

"We encourage the Biden administration to use this opportunity to make a clean break with previous presidential administrations, which worked to ensure that the 2009 coup d'état succeeded."

Brett Wilkins ·


'The Facts of This Case Are So Egregious': Parents of Michigan School Shooter Charged in Killings

"There were a lot of things that could have been so simple to prevent," the Oakland County prosecutor said of the mother and father now being sought by law enforcement.

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo