McConnell’s COVID Relief Bill is Relief for Corporate America

Moscow Mitch keeps telling the press that Democrats will not pass a Covid-19 relief bill, because they are vindictive. The relief bill has been rewritten several times and so far has been declined by Democrats. I hope they hold their ground, but they seem to be slipping.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d like some relief, but these breadcrumbs are attached to a snare. They are not worth the real cost to the working class. I’m not hungry enough to say give Mitch McConnell what he wants. What’s my problem? There is other legislation tossed into it the bill that would otherwise not pass congress. This is a common political maneuver. No bill should be taken at face value. What else is in it?

The bill drafted by Republican Senators includes “corporate immunity.” Kentucky’s Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants protection for employers against lawsuits, should their workers get sick and or die of Covid-19 while in pursuit of boosting corporate earnings.

Let’s look at a few middle-class dilemmas. Say you’re a swim instructor for a chain of swim schools. You were laid off when restrictions went into effect and were relieved because your job put you in close contact with students. You had students of all ages coughing and spitting in your face as you held them up in the water. That’s the nature of the job.

Despite the rising numbers of cases, restrictions ease up because the pandemic has gone from a health issue to a political one. You are not an essential worker but you get a call from your boss who tells you to report for work.

That call ends your unemployment status. You’ve been offered employment so you lose benefits whether you accept the job or not. Your choice is to return to work at your low wage job and risk your health, or to stay home without unemployment benefits and risk starvation.

You can also blame the parents. What are they thinking, signing their kids up for swim lessons now? Well, there will always be… How can I say this nicely? …idiots. These are the same people who argue about wearing masks. They don’t cover their noses, they take it off after they enter the building or the popular– “I know! It’s in my purse! I’ll put it on in a minute!” Oh Karen 🙄, why can’t you follow the rules?

The position of the employer is understandable. They are on the brink of losing their business. But at what point is putting your business before your employee’s health wrong? You don’t offer health insurance, and you get away with that because no one is full time. Many come close, but 38 hours a week does not equal 40. You have added a list of safety precautions that you know are just for show. There is no six-foot distancing in a swim lesson, and you can’t wear a mask. But to show we care, you are given a face shield that offers no protection when you’re standing over a student holding them as they cough up water while learning to float on their backs. That shield also goes on and off throughout the day because you can’t demonstrate with it on. These teachers are not protected, and if they get sick they go home and pass on the virus to the rest of their household.

Low wage workers, like swim teachers, preschool teachers, store clerks, and Amazon workers, have built the fortune of upper management, who work from home, safely sheltered from inhaling the moisture particles that spread disease.

Jeff Bezos of Amazon stands on the shoulders of over one million low wage workers who built his fortune, but he can’t offer them health insurance or paid sick leave beyond a day or two. Amazon, like many corporations, makes sure most employees don’t reach the 40 hours per week threshold that gives them the full-time status that would make them eligible for healthcare.

From Amazon’s website: “Amazon grants paid sick time based on local, city and state ordinances.”

That might cut into Mr. Bezos’s tax-free profits.

Let me tell you from first-hand experience, (in an industry not mentioned,) although every state has a variation of workman’s compensation laws, the laws that are in place today benefit the interests of the employer, (the man.) Employees who work for large corporations are numbers. No one cares about what the injured employees’ neurosurgeon says, or about their pain level. The man wants the worker to either return to work or to resign.

Corporations employ teams of high-power litigators whose job it is to make sure the injured employee gets as little as they can get away with paying. Attorney’s hired to represent the injured party can’t effectively fight a team of corporate attorneys. They also don’t want strained relations with those attorneys who they see so often that they consider them their co-workers. They will take their share of the employee’s settlement regardless of how hard they fought on their behalf. My state’s workman’s-comp laws include a no-fault clause. That means the employee can not sue the company for reckless management decisions that led to their life-changing injury.

Back to Covid. Get this: the relief bill that was passed by congress on May 15, included bailouts for big corporations- these are the same corporations that pay little to no taxes. Many of them are thriving, but they were on the receiving end of special operating privileges for health insurance and more. It must have been hidden in the fine print because Democrats say they didn’t know it was there. That is sheer negligence, my dear party!

Anywho, you may have noticed that there has been no second relief package. Countries like Canada pay their citizens $2,000 every month, but Americans got a one time check for $1,200. Mitch McConnell would have you believe that the Democrats are at fault, but he has added some ugly to the relief bill. His bill includes corporate exemptions from employee lawsuits related to Covid19. It’s in the bill, and that is why Democrats have refused to sign. The plan also does nothing to boost or extend unemployment benefits.

And those damn Koch brothers— Sorry, my mind is wondering. I know one Koch is dead, but their legacy lives on. Koch Corporation has owned Mitch McConnell and most of the GOP for decades. One of the many anti-middle-class items on their to-do list has been to end worker protections for on the job injuries. They have fought for 20 years to make workman’s compensation a page in history from the days of yore. They don’t like being held financially accountable for anything.

If this relief package is signed, the queen bee will not only sit protected from exposure to deadly moisture particles, but she will also be shielded from accountability should the worker bee contract the virus on the job.

We need more champions of the middle class. Elizabeth Warren is fighting on behalf of injured workers and I love her for it. I am afraid to hope the two Senate run-off elections in Georgia will result in a demotion for Mitch McConnell, but I do. We need Mitch McConnell to return to the turtle shell he came out of.

Come on, Georgia! Two days left to register to vote.

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