Essential Workers Bill of Rights
Throughout the pandemic DC Jobs with Justice has played a key role in advocating for worker safety. Through several different pieces of legislation DC JWJ and our labor allies ensured that many workers in DC had a right to a face mask, a right to return to their former employer when they reopen, and a right to refuse to serve maskless customers.
In March of 2021 DC JWJ convened a cross-sector group of labor unions to discuss an additional push for worker protections during the pandemic. After several weeks of discussion we compiled a list of demands that included: two weeks of COVID sick leave; $3 per hour hero pay; paid bereavement leave; presumptive eligibility for COVID-19 workers comp; and stronger workplace safety measures. We called this the Essential Worker Bill of Rights.
The campaign began with a petition that went on to gather more than 500 signatures. In early May we held a virtual rally with the Metro Washington Labor Council AFL-CIO that had over 60 attendees. Finally in May the coalition held a press conference outside the Wilson Building calling on the Mayor to enact the Bill of Rights.
Written by Nikko Bilitza
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