Liz Watson Decries McConnell Corporate Immunity Plan and Calls for a Mask Mandate

Liz Watson (‘00), Executive Director of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Center and Executive Director of the Progressive Caucus Action Fund, co-authored a piece for Slate warning against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s plan to limit corporate liability for COVID-19 related claims, allowing legal immunity from critical protections and endangering the lives of workers (“Giving Corporations a License to Kill,” June 11). “Lawsuits alone won’t protect workers’ rights. But with no threat of OSHA enforcement and no threat of liability, corporations will have little incentive to take precautions if keeping workers safe costs money. … Corporate immunity would give them a free pass to gamble with workers’ lives.”

In related pieces for Slate and Common Dreams, Liz warned that insufficient unemployment assistance will compel workers into dangerous workplaces (“Senate Republicans Want to Let Corporations Get Away With Murder,” July 28) and discussed a wide range of proposed protections. “We need leaders who are committed to building a better, more resilient and just nation out of the ashes of this crisis. We can start with the simple premise that no matter what we look like, where we live, or what’s in our wallets, none of us are disposable.” (“Trump and the GOP Are Sacrificing Working People for Political Gain,” July 3)

Liz also contributed an article to Ms. calling for a national mandate on mask-wearing to save lives (“It’s Time to Require Masks,” Jul 14). “Our laissez-faire approach to masks endangers us all, but leaves women and people of color especially vulnerable. Women, particularly women of color, are the backbone of our essential workforce, putting their lives at risk as nursing home workers, child care workers, and fast food and retail workers to ensure the rest of us stay healthy and fed. … Since some will not wear a mask on their own, we owe it to our essential workers—and everyone else—to require it.”