Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Florida AFL-CIO: Standing Up Against COVID-19 Business Liability


Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

Rich Templin, the director of politics and public policy at the Florida AFL-CIO, spoke at a Florida Consumer Watch press conference on Monday about how state legislation that’s aimed at enacting sweeping COVID-19 lawsuit immunity is an excuse for big businesses and will ultimately harm workers.

“The Florida AFL-CIO represents 1.3 million workers, retirees and their families,” said Templin during the conference. “Over the last couple of weeks, we have received tons of calls. Workers are afraid of this legislation, and here’s why. Where the coronavirus began, workers got very little in the form of a federal response. They got very little in the form of a state response. What they saw was a state determined to reopen too early, too quickly, and outside of the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines. But they went to work anyway, because they had to. Now the same government that gave little to no direction, that forced the reopening of the state, is asking for a blank check for business owners.”

“In the middle of a public health crisis, legislation is being pushed in the Florida Legislature that, if passed, would prevent businesses that expose working people to COVID-19 from being held accountable,” said Florida AFL-CIO President Mike Williams (IBEW). “Florida has rushed through the reopening process with little regard for the safety of both essential workers and consumers. This is yet another example of leadership in our state government putting profits before people. Granting sweeping liability protections to bad actors is not only an insult to working people, it also ignores the businesses who have followed proper safety protocols to ensure the safety of their workers and customers.”

Watch the full press conference here.